WASHINGTON (AP) — A group of 11 House Republicans has introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference and President Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.
The Republicans who introduced the resolution have criticized Rosenstein for not being responsive enough as they have requested documents related to the Russia investigation and a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails. It is unclear whether there will be enough support in the party to pass it, as Republican leaders have not signed on to the effort.
The articles were introduced by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, frequent critics of the Justice Department. The introduction does not trigger an immediate vote, but Meadows and Jordan could make procedural moves on the House floor that could force a vote late this week or when the House returns from its upcoming five-week recess in September. The House is scheduled to leave for that recess Thursday.
The move came about two hours after GOP lawmakers met with Justice Department officials who have been working to provide documents to several congressional committees about decisions made during the 2016 presidential campaign. The department has provided lawmakers with more than 800,000 documents, but Meadows said after the 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. House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy said after the meeting that he was pleased with the department's efforts and wouldn't support Rosenstein's impeachment. House Speaker Paul Ryan has also said he is satisfied with progress on the document production.
Democrats have criticized Republican efforts to pressure the Justice Department in recent months, saying they are attempts to undermine Mueller's investigation.
Here is the press release the representatives put out:
Today, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), along with 9 cosponsors, introduced Articles of Impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The impeachment articles come as evidence continues to mount regarding the Department of Justice’s problematic decision-making during the 2016 campaign and conduct surrounding the transition to President Trump’s administration in 2017. The impeachment articles are the result of nearly 9 months of unsuccessful congressional attempts to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comply with oversight requests.
The failures cited within the articles include intentionally withholding embarrassing documents and information, knowingly hiding material investigative information from Congress, various abuses of the FISA process, and failure to comply with congressional subpoenas, among others.
Rep. Jim Jordan released the following statement:
“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress. Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.”
“With Attorney General Sessions’ recusal, Rod Rosenstein has been in charge of the Department of Justice as the agency has made every effort to obstruct legitimate attempts of Congressional oversight. The stonewalling over this last year has been just as bad or worse than under the Obama administration. Multiple times we’ve caught DOJ officials hiding information from Congress, withholding relevant documents, or even outright ignoring Congressional subpoenas—and now we have evidence that Mr. Rosenstein signed off on a document using unverified political opposition research as a cornerstone of a FISA application to spy on an American citizen working for the Trump campaign. This level of conduct, paired with the failure to even feign an interest in transparency, is reprehensible. And whether you’re a Republican or a Democrat, this kind of obstruction is wrong—period.
For 9 months we’ve warned them consequences were coming, and for 9 months we’ve heard the same excuses backed up by the same unacceptable conduct. Time is up and the consequences are here. It’s time to find a new Deputy Attorney General who is serious about accountability and transparency.”
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ):
“Congress gave Mr. Rosenstein plenty of time to comply with our requests. We have been reasonable and up front with him. Unfortunately, at almost every opportunity, Mr. Rosenstein has resisted and defied Congress’s constitutional oversight. His time to obstruct our investigations has expired. Mr. Rosenstein’s Department is subject to constitutional checks and balances. I call on my colleagues to assert our constitutional responsibility and approve these articles of impeachment.”
Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA)
“The Department of Justice continues to thwart and/or impede the oversight authority of the Congress. We must ensure transparency, and stop unelected bureaucrats from avoiding accountability to the American People.”
Rep. Paul A. Gosar, D.D.S. (R-AZ):
“It’s time to stop letting unelected bureaucrats rule over the people’s house. Rod Rosenstein has repeatedly failed to deliver requested documents, ignored subpoenas and ultimately stonewalled Congress. His obstruction and reckless actions have completely undermined the American people. In order to restore the power to the people, we must impeach Rod Rosenstein. I will continue to fight to shine a light on the facts and ensure power is restored to the American people.”
Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA):
“I have tremendous respect for the men and women of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, many of whom put their lives on the line every day in service to our country. Unfortunately, for too long, there has been a culture of stonewalling and misdirection that has permeated the highest levels of these organizations, most especially under the failed leadership of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former FBI Director James Comey. It is the duty of America’s law enforcement agencies to rise above the fray, and it is our duty in Congress to root out corruption in our government when it presents itself. While we have acted in good faith and given DAG Rosenstein every opportunity to comply with Congressional requests, he has evaded our attempts to conduct oversight time and time again. Now, the only recourse we have left in order to fulfill our vested duty is to hold Rod Rosenstein accountable – before the American people lose all trust and confidence in these agencies.”
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL):
“Rod Rosenstein and the Department of Justice have repeatedly ignored Congressional requests and subpoenas, showing a complete disregard for Congressional oversight authority. In his capacity as Deputy AG, Mr. Rosenstein oversaw and approved of the likely-improper FISA warrant on Carter Page and subsequent surveillance of President Trump’s team. His leadership has weakened Americans’ faith in the intelligence community and in seeing justice served; he should be removed immediately.”
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-TN):
“Given many opportunities to cooperate with Congress, Rod Rosenstein has demonstrated a chronic inability to answer questions important to our investigation of alleged criminal abuses of intelligence services under the previous administration. Even under subpoena, the Deputy Attorney General has refused to produce necessary documents, because they implicate top Department of Justice and FBI officials, including himself. His own role in fraudulent warrants and wiretapping the President’s campaign is a major conflict of interest that renders him unfit to oversee the Special Counsel or DOJ. Removing Mr. Rosenstein from office is the only option left to Congress.”