Trump’s GOP allies keep up pressure on Rosenstein
President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress have renewed their pressure campaign against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, demanding new information about his oversight of special counsel Robert Mueller’s criminal investigation.
In a newly released letter, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and a handful of Trump-aligned House Republicans have asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions to reveal whether Rosenstein consulted him before approving an FBI raid on the office, home and hotel room of Trump’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
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“We would like to know if you approved, were consulted or had any involvement in this decision by the Department of Justice,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to Rosenstein on Monday and released Wednesday.
The letter was signed by Jordan, Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.), Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.). The Republicans suggested that Sessions should have played a role in the decision even though he has recused himself from the Mueller’s probe into 2016 Kremlin election meddling.
It’s the latest salvo in an escalating GOP offensive against Rosenstein, who, thanks to Sessions’ recusal, directly supervises Mueller and signs off on his major actions. Rosenstein has recently drawn increasing scrutiny from conservatives who call the Justice Department’s Russia probe illegitimate and biased, and several false alarms of Rosenstein’s imminent firing by Trump have rippled through Washington.
House Republicans specifically charge that Rosenstein has resisted providing Justice Department documents to Congress that could shed light on the FBI’s 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email — as well as the investigation of Trump campaign contacts with Russia.
“Rod Rosenstein has a problem with Congress,” said Meadows, who chairs the House’s conservative Freedom Caucus and frequently speaks with to Trump. Meadows complained that Rosenstein has been “looking the other way” when House Republicans demand Justice Department documents.
Rosenstein has promised to lead an extensive and rapid effort to turn over thousands of documents to Congress. But impa but has faced increasingly withering calls – and even the threat of impeachment – from Trump supporters in Congress.
“To the extent he addresses that … that will serve him well. If not, perhaps the consequences of that might be even greater than what the president might invoke,” Meadows said.
Democrats worry the document demands are simply a pretext for Trump to remove Rosenstein and attempt to assert greater control over the Mueller investigation, a probe that has become increasingly perilous for Trump’s inner circle.
Rosenstein reportedly approved the Cohen raid earlier this month based on information derived from Mueller’s probe, but he passed on the information to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York.
In their letter, the House Republicans said that Rosenstein was mistaken to do so, and instead should have referred the matter to Sessions.