House conservatives move to impeach deputy attorney general




  • In Business/Economy
  • 2018-07-26 02:24:44Z
  • By Mary Clare Jalonick, Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A group of 11 House conservatives on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

The move comes after months of criticism aimed at the department - and the Russia investigation in particular - from Trump and his Republican allies in Congress. Trump has fumed about Mueller's probe and repeatedly called it a "witch hunt," a refrain echoed by some of the lawmakers. The impeachment effort is led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, who talks to Trump frequently and often defends him to his colleagues.

It is unclear whether there will be enough support in the party to pass the impeachment resolution, as Republican leaders have not signed on to the effort and are unlikely to back it.

Meadows, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and the other Republicans who introduced the resolution have criticized Rosenstein and Justice Department officials for not being responsive enough as House committees have requested documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation and a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails.

The introduction does not trigger an immediate vote, but Meadows could make procedural moves on the House floor that could force a vote late this week or when the House returns in September from its upcoming recess. The House is scheduled to leave Thursday for the five-week recess.

The five articles charge Rosenstein of "high crimes and misdemeanors" for failing to produce information to the committees, even though the department has already provided lawmakers with more than 800,000 documents, and of signing off on what some Republicans say was improper surveillance of a Trump adviser.

The resolution also goes directly after Rosenstein for his role in the ongoing Mueller investigation, criticizing him for refusing to produce a memo that outlines the scope of that investigation and questioning whether the investigation was started on legitimate grounds. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign was in any way involved.

It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for lawmakers to demand documents that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein's conduct is "reprehensible."

"It's time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency," Meadows said.

It's uncertain how many of Meadows' fellow Republicans agree. Rosenstein, along with FBI Director Christopher Wray, faced dozens of angry Republicans at a House hearing last month. The lawmakers alleged bias at the FBI and suggested the department has conspired against Trump - but many could draw the line at impeachment.

"Impeachment is a punishment, it's not a remedy," House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy said shortly before Meadows introduced the resolution. "If you are looking for documents, then you want compliance, and you want whatever moves you toward compliance."

The impeachment resolution came about two hours after GOP lawmakers met with Justice Department officials about the documents. Meadows said after that meeting that there was still "frustration" with how Justice has handled the oversight requests.

Republican leaders, however, have said in recent weeks that they are satisfied with the Justice Department's progress. Gowdy said after the meeting that he was pleased with the department's efforts. House Speaker Paul Ryan has also said he is satisfied with progress on the document production.

Meadows heads the conservative Freedom Caucus and has sparred with Ryan on issues from immigration to federal spending. His open threat of triggering a vote on impeachment - which he can do if he follows a certain set of procedural rules - could help him win concessions on other contentious issues before the House.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said she had no comment on the articles of impeachment. Rosenstein has overseen the Russia investigation since last year, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe following reports of his meeting with the Russian ambassador.

Democrats have criticized the Republican efforts to pressure the Justice Department, saying they are attempts to undermine Mueller's investigation.

In a joint statement, the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and intelligence committees called the move a "panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates."

So far, the special counsel has charged 32 people and three companies. That includes four Trump campaign advisers.

Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California said Rosenstein "stands as one of the few restraints against the overreaches of the president and his allies in Congress."

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Chad Day contributed to this report.

COMMENTS

More Related News

Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen delaying testimony to Congress
Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen delaying testimony to Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, will not testify before a House committee next month as scheduled, his adviser said Wednesday, depriving Democrats for now of a prime opportunity to scrutinize Trump, his links to Russia and payments to buy the silence of a

No. 3 House Democrat floats possible $5.7 billion in border funding
No. 3 House Democrat floats possible $5.7 billion in border funding

The No. 3 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday raised the possibility of approving $5.7 billion in funding to secure the U.S. border though various means but not by building a wall. Referring to Republican President Donald Trump's demand for $5.7 billion to build a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn told reporters, "We see ourselves fulfilling that request" with a "smart wall." The consideration comes as U.S. lawmakers this week seek to forge a path out of the partial government shutdown as it entered its 33rd day on Wednesday. Trump has said the $5.7 billion would be for the wall in addition to other funds for border...

Supreme Court allows Trump's partial military ban on transgender people in military to take effect
Supreme Court allows Trump's partial military ban on transgender people in military to take effect

The Supreme Court will allow Trump's partial ban on transgender people serving in the military to take effect while court challenges continue.

3 groups, many videos, many interpretations of DC encounter
3 groups, many videos, many interpretations of DC encounter

Dozens of white Catholic high school students visiting Washington for a rally to end abortion. At first the focus was on a short video showing one of the high school students, Nick Sandmann, wearing a red "Make America Great Again" hat and appearing to smirk while a crowd of other teens laughed

Giuliani backtracks on comments Trump sought Moscow deal throughout 2016
Giuliani backtracks on comments Trump sought Moscow deal throughout 2016

Giuliani told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that Trump may have continued to pursue the project and had discussions about it with his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, until as late as October or November 2016, when Trump was closing in on his election victory over Democrat Hillary

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Economy

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.