Members of the House Freedom Caucus have reportedly drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as a way of keeping the pressure on at a time when Republicans have been less than satisfied with the agency’s ability to respond to their requests for documents. Sources within the caucus have said that the draft is merely something they are keeping in their back pocket for the time being, calling it a “last resort” they’ll only use if they continue to meet resistance from Rosenstein and other senior Justice Department officials.
House Republicans want the Justice Department to be more forthcoming as it pertains to their requests for information regarding possible FISA court abuse stemming from the Carter Page investigation as well as the inquiry into other, related matters such as the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the troubling texts sent between FBI personnel Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. While Rosenstein recently authorized the release of some of that information to Congress and just reached an agreement with Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) to provide more, House conservatives are apparently wary of the deputy attorney general’s motives.
In the draft, members of the House Freedom Caucus say that Rosenstein has “engaged in a pattern of conduct incompatible with the trust and confidence placed in him in that position by refusing to comply with a subpoena issued by the House Committee on the Judiciary on March 22, 2018.” That subpoena was related to documents surrounding allegations of FISA abuse by the Obama administration.
The draft also accuses Rosenstein of failing “to enforce multiple laws,” including “improper authorization of searches and electronic surveillance.” This references the fact that at least one of the FISA renewal applications the Department of Justice sent to the court was signed by Rosenstein, who was at the time the acting attorney general.
In remarks to the Washington Post, Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows said that he and his colleagues had pretty much reached the breaking point when it came to Rosenstein.
“My frustrations about their inability to respond to simple requests could warrant further action,” Meadows said.
Since the impeachment of Rod Rosenstein would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate, we doubt the deputy attorney general is too worried about this move from House conservatives. Even so, this serves as a message to both Rosenstein and the American people about how this Justice Department – TRUMP’S Justice Department – is continuing to drag its feet when it comes to cleaning out its own Obama-era skeletons. At a time when we need unprecedented transparency, they’re offering unprecedented obfuscation. And when something smells sinister, it usually is.
Keep pushing, Republicans.