Jeff Sessions defends Rod Rosenstein after impeachment threat - CNNPolitics

GOP Lawmakers File Articles Of Impeachment Against Rod Rosenstein

House Republican members of the conservative Freedom Caucus introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday - the latest salvo in an ongoing back-and-forth between some in the GOP over the Justice Department's handling of the Russian Federation probe.

The resolution on its own does not mean that the House is on the verge of voting to impeach the deputy attorney general, and conservative House members agreed Thursday morning to holding off on a vote to impeach Rosenstein until after the August recess.

Justice Department officials said on Wednesday that a number of members of Congress have been able to review a almost unredacted copy of the surveillance application that has been the most recent flashpoint in the political saga.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein in a Boston speech, saying he has the "highest confidence" in his top deputy.

Meadows declined to force a vote on the resolution Thursday after he says he struck a deal with Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte to postpone his next move until after the recess. "No, I do not", Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters at his weekly news conference. "The DOJ has continued to hide information from Congress and repeatedly obstructed oversight-even defying multiple Congressional subpoenas".

At the time of filing the articles of impeachment, only 11 of the House's 236 Republicans said they would sign it.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that among other things, Mueller is scrutinizing Trump's twitter feed - particularly those that seem to threaten Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey - as potential evidence of obstruction of justice.

Democrats have charged that House conservatives are targeting Rosenstein in an effort to undermine the larger Mueller investigation and protect President Donald Trump.

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"It is a panicked and risky attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates", the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform, and Intelligence panels said in a joint statement.

The five articles of impeachment would charge Rosenstein with failing to produce information, though the department has provided lawmakers with more than 800,000 documents.

Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether Trump's campaign was involved.

A Justice Department official said the agency had no comment.

Meadows alleged that lawmakers have "caught" Justice officials hiding information from Congress, withholding relevant documents and ignoring congressional subpoenas. They could try to build support for a House vote when lawmakers return after Labor Day, although the attitude of Ryan or other leaders might not be different then.

"This year's push to impeach Rosenstein is about as likely to succeed as a campaign to make Roseanne Barr the next head of the NAACP".

Justice Department officials, briefing reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said the department has fully complied with two subpoenas from the House Intelligence Committee and met nearly all demands in a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. In response to the measure, Democrats Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Elijah Cummings, D-Md., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., issued a statement calling it a "direct attack" on Robert Mueller's investigation. Besides Jordan and Meadows, it has only nine co-sponsors, and Republican leaders, including Trey Gowdy, the chairman of the oversight committee, have expressed a distinct lack of enthusiasm for the effort.

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