The Michigan congressman brought the wrath of his entire party into himself with a number of tweets over the weekend suggesting that the possible attempts of obstruction of justice against the president raised by special counsel Robert Mueller amounted to “impeachable conduct”.
Mr Amash said Mr Mueller had identified “multiple examples of conduct satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice“ during his investigation into Russian election interference, adding that ”any person who is not the president of the United States would be indicted based on such evidence”.
Attorney general William Barr said that the 11 examples raised did not constitute obstruction of justice, with the Mueller report having already said that the president was not involved in a conspiracy with Russia to sway the 2016 presidential election.
But Mr Amash accused Mr Barr of having “deliberately misrepresented” the investigation and that it was up to Congress to decide what happens next.
“Contrary to Barr’s portrayal,” Mr Amash tweeted. “Mueller’s report reveals that President Trump engaged in specific actions and a pattern of behaviour that meet the threshold for impeachment,” he added. Talking about impeachment he said it “simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt or otherwise dishonourable conduct”.
Now Michigan state representative and Republican Jim Lower has announced that he will be challenging Mr Amash for the third district seat the congressman won in the Tea Party wave of 2010.
“I am a pro-Trump, pro-life, pro-jobs, pro-second amendment, pro-family values Republican,” Mr Lower said in a statement. “Justin Amash’s tweets... calling for President Trump’s impeachment show how out of touch he is with the truth and how out of touch he is with people he represents.”
Mr Amash had faced a difficult 48 hours, with the whole Republican Party establishment admonishing him. Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, accused him of “parroting the Democrats’ talking points on Russia”.
Kevin McCarthy, the House minority leader, called the move “disturbing”questioned if he was truly a Republican.
“It’s very disturbing. This is exactly what you would expect from Justin. He never supported the president. And I think he’s just looking for attention,” Mr McCarthy said.
Mr Amash has gone against his party on some major legislation over the years, but has backed Mr Trump’s wishes more often than not. As for the president, he called Mr Amash called “a total lightweight who opposes me and some of our great Republican ideas and policies”.
As for the Democrats, senator Chris Coons summed up the mood when he said he was “surprised to see a Republican congressman saying publicly what I think many are thinking privately.”