Over the course of the last year, I have been highly critical of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his selection of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel and his failure to recuse himself from the Russian investigation. However, the most recent effort to impeach Rosenstein is unwarranted and unwise. According to news reports on Friday, Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio are preparing articles of impeachment to subject in the coming weeks against Rosenstein.
Like many, I remain skeptical over the failure of the Justice Department to turn over material to Congress and I found the continued refusal of Peter Strzok to answer basic questions on prior investigations to be troubling. In fairness to Strzok, he appears to have been given direct orders from the Justice Department and FBI not to answer. There are legitimate questions raised by those orders in obstructing Congress. Moreover, the use of classification authority to redact embarrassing information and the failure to make timely disclosures are all worthy matters for congressional action. While Rosenstein insists that he does not do redactions, he also does not seem particularly concerned over the glaring abuses of redaction authority or the glacial pace of disclosure — let alone the most recent effort to silence Strzok.
I have previously testified that Congress needs to enforce its contempt authority. However, impeachment is not an alternative device to be used in such conflicts. Rosenstein is wrong on some of these issues, but the department has turned over material. His position on disclosures is not much different from the position of the department under President Barack Obama. Indeed, the department has turned over far more information under this Administration.
Moreover, Rosenstein was right to appoint a special counsel (he just picked the wrong individual for that position). He is also right to continue to support the Special Counsel and ensure that the Mueller investigation is allowed to continue unimpeded. Finally, despite some of his bad choices, Rosenstein continues to conduct himself in a professional and apolitical fashion.
Given the recent indictment of Russian military intelligence officials, there is good work being done by Mueller and important crimes uncovered by his investigation. To push for an impeachment at this time is wholly unconnected to both the impeachment standard and the realities of the investigation. This is not a witch hunt. As I discussed in a recent column, while we can discuss which witches were originally sought, there be witches in those woods.
Congress should hammer Rosenstein over the instructions given to Strzok not to answer questions and the continued withholding of material information from oversight committees. However, the talk of impeachment is as unwise as it is unfounded.
is the target of an impeachment effort being undertaken by conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a report.
U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, both members of the House Freedom Caucus, are said to be leading the effort and could submit an impeachment filing in the next few days, Politico news reports on Friday.
Rosenstein has been clashing with some House Republicans for months over requests for Department of Justice documents, the Washington Examiner reported. The deputy AG oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.
On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the White House ordered that more members of Congress receive access to classified information about an FBI informant linked to the Russia probe, despite objections from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.
It was Rosenstein who named Mueller to lead the Trump-Russia probe after Rosenstein’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the investigation because of Sessions’ own role in the Trump campaign.
Politico’s story on the possible impeachment filing against Rosenstein came on the same day that Rosenstein announced Mueller’s 12 indictments against Russian military intelligence officials on charges linked to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Speculation that President Donald Trump might fire Rosenstein increased in April, after FBI agents conducted raids at the office and home of Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, the Hill reported.