The Freedom Caucus (along with conservative activist groups, some Fox News anchors and other forces on the political right) has succeeded in getting Trump to largely govern from the right. At its urging, the president has abandoned some of the more liberal ideas from his 2016 campaign (such as a major increase in federal infrastructure spending) and his instinct to try to cut deals (he has flirted with compromises with Democrats on immigration policy but never followed through).

Perhaps because Trump has supported their policy goals, Freedom Caucus members have turned into essentially a powerful defense team for the president, aggressively attacking the methods and motives of Justice Department and FBI officials who are looking into connections between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russian officials. Last week, 15 House Republicans, 13 from the Freedom Caucus, started a long-shot campaign to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump-Russia ties. The caucus members argue that Rosenstein has improperly blocked Congress from seeing documents related to the Russia investigation, but this appears to be a move aimed at either undermining or forcing out the deputy attorney general, who has become a hero to Trump critics because of his strong support of Mueller’s investigation.