CNNPolitics: Jeff Sessions defends Rod Rosenstein after impeachment threat

Rod Rosenstein

Rosenstein leads the Department of Justice in overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and potential association to the Trump campaign.

"With Attorney General Sessions' recusal, Rod Rosenstein has been in charge of the Department of Justice as the agency has made every effort to obstruct legitimate attempts of congressional oversight", Meadows said in a statement, adding that it's "time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency".

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.

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., head of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said it is "obvious" leadership does not support the effort. "This resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is a direct attack on the Special Counsel's investigation - full stop".

Asked in May about rumblings that House Republicans might move to impeachment, Rosenstein was defiant.

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. "Those who joined in the filing of these articles of impeachment are locking hands with the president as he tears down these institutions and undermines the rule of law".

"I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term", Ryan told reporters.

The articles were introduced by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, frequent critics of the Justice Department.

Not all Republicans are on board with the impeachment proceedings.

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"The DOJ is keeping information from Congress", Jordan said, referring to the Department of Justice.

"It is a panicked and unsafe 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 statement read, in part.

House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy couldn't understand why Rosenstein would be impeached, stating, "Impeach him for what?" 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.

Trump's supporters in the House of Representatives have been threatening to impeach Rosenstein for a while, accusing him of dragging his feet on providing requested documents related to the Russian Federation investigation. "Our message to the Justice Department: either produce the documents or take the consequences".

But Meadows said separately on Thursday that he doesn't intend to give up his push to get more information and more documents from the Justice Department.

"Information has been hidden, efforts have been stonewalled", Meadows said during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday night.

It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for lawmakers to demand documents that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

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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