House Republicans Shout At Rod Rosenstein, Accuse Him Of Withholding Information
Tensions quickly escalated at Thursday’s hearing as House Republicans grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, accusing him of withholding pertinent documents from the House’s Judiciary Committee.
The committee originally called the emergency hearing to discuss the Justice Department’s recent Inspector General report. The report originally cast doubt over the Russia probe after it revealed that one of Mueller’s investigative team members, FBI agent Peter Strzok, had previously sent anti-Trump text messages during the presidential election.
Republicans have since requested access to more records from the FBI connected to the Inspector General report, but the Justice Department has refused these demands claiming that the information is highly sensitive.
In a party-line vote Thursday, the House passed a non-binding resolution requiring the Justice Department to hand over the documents requested by the Judiciary and Intelligence committees within the next week. Failure to do so may result in Rosenstein being held in contempt or even impeached by Congress.
The documents in question are linked to Mueller’s probe, specifically the FBI’s use of a surveillance program, known as FISA, used to monitor a former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page. Republicans have also requested documents concerning the FBI’s use of informants to monitor Trump campaign officials and those connected to the Clinton Foundation.
The hearing grew heated as Republican Rep. Jim Jordan accused Rosenstein of purposely “keeping information from Congress,” in reference to the redactions found in the congressional documents’ provided. Rosenstein quickly rebutted the claim, noting how he’s a fraction of a large team and did not personally perform all of the specified redactions.
“Your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong,” said Rosenstein. “If you’re interested in the truth… we have a team of folks who are Trump appointees.”
Many Democrats seemed frustrated with Republicans’ handling of the hearing, arguing that they seemed more interested in asking questions than actually listening to Rosenstein’s answers.
“We can go to Mr. Jordan’s press conference and listen to him,” interjected Rep. Eric Swalwell, urging Jordan to give Rosenstein the chance to respond.
Democrats have also speculated that the Republicans’ attempt at indicting Rosenstein is part of a greater scheme to discredit the Russia probe.
“Republicans are requesting documents they know they cannot have,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.
Republicans did in fact voice their frustration with the ongoing probe. “Whatever you got, finish it the hell up,” snapped Rep. Trey Gowdy.