Conservative lawmakers on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in a move that marks a dramatic escalation in the battle over the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The effort, spearheaded by Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, also sets up a showdown with House Republican leaders, who have distanced themselves from calls to remove Rosenstein from office. But Meadows and Jordan stopped short of forcing an immediate vote on the measure, sparing Republican lawmakers for now from a potential dilemma.
“We’re tired of the Justice Department giving us the finger and not giving us the information we’re entitled to to do our constitutional duty,” Jordan said Wednesday night in a Fox News Channel appearance alongside Meadows. “More importantly, the American people are sick of it. That’s why we filed the resolution.”
Meadows and Jordan are leaders of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a bloc whose members have been among the most persistent critics of Rosenstein. All 11 lawmakers who filed the resolution are members of the caucus.
House Republicans have been ramping up their attacks on the deputy attorney general in recent weeks, accusing him of withholding documents and being insufficiently transparent in his handling of the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller III.
Justice Department officials have said they have provided the vast majority of information sought in subpoenas from two key House committees – and are nearly done with providing all of the outstanding information requested in those subpoenas.
In an appearance on Fox Business Network Wednesday night, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., said that while the next step remains uncertain as the House leaves town for its summer recess at the end of this week, “it was very important for those of us who believe that norms have been violated to step out and say Rod Rosenstein needs to be impeached.”
“The mountain of evidence against Rod Rosenstein is very compelling when you look at the extent to which documents and witnesses have been withheld,” said Gaetz, one of the lawmakers who introduced the resolution.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Felicia Sonmez, Mike DeBonis, Devlin Barrett