GOP lawmakers introduce impeachment against Rosenstein

GOP lawmakers introduce impeachment against Rosenstein

GOP lawmakers introduce impeachment against Rosenstein

A group of 11 House conservatives on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

Meadows quickly backed off the impeachment effort, saying that for now he would consider bringing contempt of Congress charges against Justice Department officials instead.

He also says Rosenstein's back-and-forth with congressional Republicans over document requests doesn't rise to the level of "high crimes and misdemeanors" that would warrant impeachment under the Constitution.

The House of Representatives wrapped up legislative business on Thursday without considering articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, punting the potential showdown until September and affording the Department of Justice five more weeks to comply with a congressional subpoena.

The whole impeachment effort is absurd on its face.

Republican lawmakers closely aligned with President Donald had been floating the notion of Mr. Rosenstein's impeachment for several months, citing frustration with what they see as slow-walking their inquiry into perceived political bias against President at the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"I hope that they lay down a gauntlet and show these folks that we're not just going to accept this", Rep. Tom Rice, R-S.C., told ABC News. "Jim Jordan (R-OH) and several colleagues to impeach Rod Rosenstein", said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) in a tweet.

"I want the documents and I'm not a big fan of drama, I like the documents", the South Carolina Republican said, explaining that he opposes impeachment because it's punishment and not a remedy to obtaining the documents in question.

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So far, neither GOP leadership or the Justice Department's top brass are following suit.

Democrats meanwhile have accused Republicans of simply trying to discredit the FBI and undermine the Mueller investigation.

Meadows, Jordan and others, including Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, have for months been accusing Rosenstein of obstructing their efforts to get to the bottom of anti-Trump bias that they say infected the FBI and Justice Department during its probe of Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails and early in the continuing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Democrats have accused Republicans of trying to discredit the Justice Department, and, by extension, the special counsel's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 US election. President Donald Trump has fumed about Mueller's probe and repeatedly called it a "witch hunt".

The Department of Justice has already handed over about 880,000 documents to Congress, but Meadows and his conservative allies are seeking more. 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.

The impeachment resolution was formally introduced after a meeting Wednesday between senior Justice Department officials and Goodlatte, Gowdy, Meadows and Jordan, which Rosenstein did not attend.

For his part, Mr. Rosenstein has thumbed his nose at the lawmakers. That includes four Trump campaign advisers. Gowdy said after the meeting that he was pleased with the department's efforts.

Justice Department officials maintain that lawmakers have been provided with almost all the documents requested by the House Judiciary subpoena from March and that they have been trying to accommodate incoming requests from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.

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