A bid by a group of 11 GOP congressmen to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein failed in the House Thursday after Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) refused to schedule a vote on the measure.
The group of 11, led by Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio), filed the seven-page resolution seeking Rosenstein’s ouster Wednesday over the Department of Justice’s refusal to hand over documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Both Meadows and Jordan are members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Although the motion to remove Rosenstein did earn the support of Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), it has met resistance from fellow GOP House members, particularly Ryan and Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.).
After the failure to secure a vote on the resolution, Meadows said his alternative would be pursuing a contempt charge against Mr. Rosenstein.
Speaking to reporters after emerging from a meeting with Ryan and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (Va.), in which he agreed to abandon impeachment, Meadows said his second option would be a contempt vote if DOJ does not comply with requests to hand over documents to Congress before it returns to work after a five-week break.
Coming to Rosenstein’s defense was Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said: “My deputy Rod Rosenstein is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him.” Sessions continued to suggest the move to impeach his top assistant was pointless and matters such as immigration require Congress’ attention.
Laying out his reasons for opposing the impeachment of Rosenstein, Ryan, who has previously expressed strong reservations of removing the assistant attorney general, said:
“I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or this term. I don’t think this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Continuing to address the matter in front of reporters, Ryan said he found Rosenstein and the DOJ to be in near full compliance to congressional requests for documents.
Mr. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the probe, has declined to hand over documents sought by House committees. Both Meadows and Jordan have accused the DOJ of hiding information relevant to their inquiries or disregarding congressional subpoenas.
Included in Meadow’s and Jordan’s request is Rosenstein turn over an unredacted 400-page FBI application to obtain a FISA warrant on former Trump aide Carter Page during the campaign.
Rosenstein has repeatedly insisted both he and the DOJ have complied with congressional requests, making “unprecedented disclosures” to classified documents.
[The Hill] [CNN] [Politico] [Bloomberg] [Photo courtesy AP/Evan Vucci via The Free Press]