Rep. Jim Jordan and House conservatives appear poised to force a floor vote on impeaching U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein even though Rosenstein is supervising the job of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
At a gathering of conservative Republicans on Capitol Hill this week, Jordan, R-Urbana, said “all options are on the table,” contending Rosenstein has declined to provide a House panel with thousands of pages of documents related to the FBI investigation into the private e-mails of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
“We’re considering everything because we’re not getting the response and information from the department that we should be getting,” Jordan said. “We’ve been very clear about that.”
The determination to press ahead is prompting criticism from some Republicans because just last Friday Rosenstein announced a federal grand jury had indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials for hacking the e-mails in 2016 of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton’s campaign.
In addition, both Democratic and Republican lawmakers assailed President Donald Trump Monday for failing at the Helsinki summit to challenge Russian President Vladimir Putin on accusations Russian intelligence hacked Democratic e-mails in the 2016 the 2016 presidential campaign.
“Attempting to impeach one of the people involved in indicting a dozen Russians for interfering with our election system, something that’s been proven by every US intelligence agency and Republicans on both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, would make it look like you’re as deep in Putin’s pocket as Trump is,” said Jeff Sadosky, a Republican strategist in Washington.
Jordan’s comments come on the heels of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s assertion Tuesday that he believes the Justice Department is now turning over the material.
Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., the head of the Freedom Caucus, begged to differ Tuesday, saying the department was “moving at glacial speed” and unless Justice delivers the requested documents quickly, “the Speaker has been misinformed.”
Ryan isn’t the only top Republican to express ambivalence about taking on Rosenstein. Rep. Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told “Face the Nation” Sunday that he does not support impeaching Rosenstein.
“For what? Impeach him for what?” Gowdy said on the CBS program.
Gowdy said he’s “had my differences with Rod Rosenstein, but Rosenstein was a Trump appointee. “If President Trump is dissatisfied with Rod Rosenstein, he can fire him with a tweet,” he said.
Jordan showed none of that reluctance at a press availability Tuesday with fellow members of the House Freedom Caucus, the ultra-conservative organization he helped to found.
“They haven’t complied with document requests,” he said of the FBI. “There are two subpoenas they that they are not in compliance with. We have caught them hiding information from us, redacting information that should have not been redacted. It has been reported in the press that Rod Rosenstein threatened staff members on the House Intelligence Committee.”
He said he disagreed with Ryan’s assessment that the FBI was moving into compliance. “All options are still on the table because we need to get the information so we can get the answers,” he said.