Freedom Caucus Drafts Articles of Impeachment Against Deputy AG Rosenstein

Deputy U.S. Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein waits to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC
Getty/AFP/File WIN MCNAMEE

A group of conservative House members has drafted eight articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election.

The Washington Post and the Hill both reported reviewing the articles, which the outlets said the Freedom Caucus drafted because Rosenstein has not provided the documentation requested as part of Congressional investigations into federal law enforcement actions related to the Russia investigation and the 2016 probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

The Hill reported:

The articles include allegations that Rosenstein violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over Congress’s efforts to obtain documents about FBI surveillance during the election, intentionally stalling document production for congressional investigations into possible government misconduct and failing to enforce key laws and protocols.

“[Rosenstein] failed to act on the behalf of the Attorney General by properly supervising the administration of [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] by failing to demonstrate probable cause to believe that targets of surveillance were a foreign power or agents of a foreign power, that a significant purpose of the surveillance was to obtain foreign intelligence information, and that appropriate minimization procedures were in place,” according to the third charge.

Count five charges Rosenstein of “knowingly provided misleading statements related to his supervision of the initial Department of Justice investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia when he testified under oath before Congress on December 13, 2017, that any involvement FBI attorney Bruce Ohr had in the Russian investigation was without his knowledge.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the Freedom Caucus and a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, confirmed the impeachment document in the Washington Post report:

Meadows acknowledged the draft in an interview Monday, calling the one-page document “a last resort option, if the Department of Justice fails to respond” to his requests for more information.

“My frustrations about their inability to respond to simple requests could warrant further action,” Meadows said, adding that many of his colleagues are nearing a breaking point with Rosenstein.

The Freedom Caucus, which counts a few dozen House Republicans as members, is one of the more influential blocs in Congress because of its ability to drive debates to the right inside the House and Meadows’s close relationship with the president.

But the Freedom Caucus members are not the only Republicans frustrated with the Department of Justice and in particular, Rosenstein – who gained control of the Mueller investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any probe that involved Russian meddling because of his involvement with President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) threatened a Rosenstein impeachment over a lack of cooperation in his committee’s probe about the DOJ’s investigation into the Trump presidential campaign.

But the Post reported that Nunes and the other House committees that have been battling the DOJ had reached agreements with the agency.

“Similarly, the Justice Department came to an agreement in recent weeks with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), who had been seeking documents on the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server and the firing of Andrew McCabe as deputy FBI director, among other things,” the Post reported.

Rosenstein responded to the Freedom Caucus’s impeachment draft in remarks made at a Law Day event at the Newseum in Washington, DC, on Tuesday after a reporter asked him about the development.

Rosenstein said the caucus leaked the one-page document to the press and said he would not be distracted from his job by what he called a “threat,”

Meadows, however, blames the tension between Congress on the DOJ and Rosenstein.

“The Department of Justice’s willingness to comply with legitimate requests are more lip service than actual actions,” Meadows said on Monday, according to the Post.

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