A group of conservative lawmakers on Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), along with nine co-sponsors, introduced the impeachment articles in response to “the Department of Justice’s problematic decision-making during the 2016 campaign and conduct surrounding the transition to President Trump’s administration in 2017,” according to a statement.
The articles, they said, “are the result of nearly 9 months of unsuccessful congressional attempts to force the Department of Justice (DOJ) to comply with oversight requests.” The lawmakers accused Rosenstein and the DOJ of a number of infractions ranging from “knowingly hiding material investigative information from Congress” to failing “to comply with congressional subpoenas.”
“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress,” Jordan said in a statement. Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.”
In a statement, Meadows said, “It’s time to find a new Deputy Attorney General who is serious about accountability and transparency.”
The filing is the latest in an ongoing feud between members of Congress allied with President Donald Trump and the Justice Department over the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
A group of conservative House members, spearheaded by Meadows, drafted impeachment papers against Rosenstein in April, calling it “a last-resort option if the Department of Justice fails to respond” to congressional requests for documents pertaining to the Russia investigation and another federal inquiry into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Also in April, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who oversees the House Intelligence Committee, threatened to impeach both Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. “I can tell you that we’re not going to just hold in contempt. We will have a plan to hold in contempt and impeach,” Nunes said in an appearance on Fox.
Conservatives’ filing came roughly two weeks after Rosenstein announced that a grand jury convened by Mueller had indicted 12 Russian intelligence officials in connection with the hack of a Democratic National Committee server during the 2016 election.
Meadows reportedly had the impeachment articles with him on the floor of the House at the exact moment Rosenstein was announcing the indictment to reporters on July 13, according to Politico.
Trump and a handful of vocal conservatives in Congress have long mistrusted Rosenstein over his role in the Russia investigation, which he took over after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last year. The president reportedly considered firing Rosenstein last summer.
House Republicans on July 13 expanded their attack on Rosenstein, claiming he threatened to subpoena the records of Republican House Intelligence Committee staffers during a meeting in January after they discussed the possibility of holding him in contempt of Congress. The Justice Department has denied that Rosenstein made any threats during the meeting.
Republicans could still attempt to hold Rosenstein in contempt of Congress, with the prospect of an impeachment proceeding unlikely to progress far. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and other GOP leaders in the House have largely remained silent amid calls for Rosenstein’s impeachment or firing.