House Republicans on Thursday mounted a multi-front effort to rebuke and embarrass the GOP-led Justice Department, hauling Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein before an “emergency” hearing of the Judiciary Committee just as the House voted to accuse him of flouting congressional document requests.
Face-to-face with Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray, Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte invoked the Church Committee — the 1975 investigation into federal surveillance abuses against figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. — and suggested history was repeating itself in the ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia on its election interference efforts.
“Here, we now face the same allegations, yet in a manner that goes to the heart of our democracy,” said the Virginia Republican. “It is right out of a novel, with salacious, unverified dossiers, reports of informants that appear more like spies for the U.S. government, and application of the aforementioned surveillance powers to collect on a U.S. person once associated with President Trump’s political campaign.”
“Whatever you got, finish it the hell up,” added House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.). “This country’s being torn apart.”Just as the House began voting on the resolution to rebuke Rosenstein, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) blasted Rosenstein, accusing him of “keeping information from Congress” and prompting a sharp rebuttal from Rosenstein.
“Your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong,” Rosenstein said emphatically, noting that he’s one part of a large team working on congressional document requests, and rejecting the suggestion that he personally screened the information Congress had demanded. “If you’re interested in the truth … we have a team of folks who are Trump appointees.”
Jordan also grilled Rosenstein on recent media reports in which anonymous House Intelligence Committee Republican staffers accused Rosenstein of threatening them with subpoenas in retaliation for their aggressive document requests about the Russia probe.
Rosenstein urged Jordan to dismiss the media accounts. “I’m telling the truth and I’m under oath,” he said.But Jordan shot back: “What’s so darn important that you will threaten members?”Shortly after the exchange, the House passed the resolution by a 226-183 vote that split along party lines.