House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Tuesday that Republican Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan is “in a different place from the majority of all of us” after Amash announced Monday evening he would be leaving the conservative House Freedom Caucus, of which he was a founding member.
Amash became the first and so far only GOP member of Congress in May to break with the party in saying he believed the President engaged in “impeachable conduct” after Amash read the report from special counsel Robert Mueller.
When asked by CNN if Amash should also leave the House Republican Conference, McCarthy paused. He then briefly laughed and pointed to a series of recent votes by Amash that departed with the GOP party, including his vote to make the Mueller report public.
McCarthy also characterized Tuesday’s vote on the House floor on a resolution allowing House committees to enforce their subpoenas in the courts as taking power away from Congress.
“Does the power of Congress really lie in three people? Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, (House Majority Leader) Steny Hoyer, and (House Majority Whip James) Clyburn? Because that’s, in essence, what happened today,” McCarthy said. “If this passes, we will release the power of Congress into those individuals to determine what happens.”
McCarthy characterized this move as unprecedented and expressed concern over bypassing Congress and going directly to court to enforce subpoenas in the future.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler struck a deal between the committee and the Department of Justice to obtain key documents related to findings in the Mueller report, but said he would not delay the vote on “civil contempt” Tuesday.