Rosenstein Drama Percolating in Congress
Somewhat buried by other news of the day comes reports that some members of the House are working on articles of impeachment for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man overseeing the Mueller Special Counsel investigation. While many experts doubt the success of such a measure, openly discussing congressional action against the second highest-ranking official at the Justice Department is extrodinary. Much like the long-rumored desire of the President to fire Mueller, Rosenstein, and perhaps even AG Jeff Sessions, such a move would likely cause far more problems for the administration than it would solve.
Rosenstein continues to play a pivotal role in the outcome of Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections because he’s engaged in an escalating battle with House Republicans.
As I report with Sari Horwitz and Matt Zapotsky in Tuesday’s paper, the deputy attorney general is also now facing the threat of impeachment proceedings from members of the House Freedom Caucus, the conservative bloc that’s closely aligned with President Trump.
Impeachment, of course is usually reserved for presidents in big trouble or federal judges who are accused of accepting bribes. Even the author of the draft of the articles of impeachment — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) — calls the proposal a “last resort” at this point. (Read the articles here.)
But the fact that the draft has moved from whispers to a document that’s being circulated in the House is significant because it reveals how the case against the Mueller probe, and in a related way against Rosenstein on various fronts, is only gaining steam as the Trump administration and many Republicans grow restless about what they call a “witch hunt.”
The inside-baseball squabble between Meadows and Rosenstein is about document requests related to the conduct of the federal officials working on the Russia probe — which is also examining whether Trump officials had improper contact with Russian officials and whether the president himself sought to obstruct Mueller’s investigation. The investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server is another area of interest.
Whatever stage the Mueller probe is now in, the circus surrounding it and this administration is nowhere near ebbing.
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