Trump may 'get involved' in documents dispute between Justice, Congress

PBS NewsHour  YouTube

PBS NewsHour YouTube

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, on Tuesday responded to articles of impeachment that President Donald Trump's allies in the House drafted against him, insisting that the Department of Justice "is not going to be extorted".

The discussion comes amid speculation over the deputy attorney general's future at DOJ after the Washington Post obtained a copy of draft articles of impeachment against Rosenstein from members of the Republican House Freedom Caucus.

House Republicans have ordered the Department of Justice to turn over Federal Bureau of Investigation documents related to Hillary Clinton and FISA surveillance of Trump associates, and the president has complained for weeks that officials are "slow-walking" the process.

"That's to not say we're flawless", Rosenstein insisted.

Rosenstein said Tuesday that the department would not be cowed by threats and would adhere to the rule of law. "So we decide we're going to focus on violent crime or public corruption, for example, but then, in making the decisions about which cases and which people to prosecute, we need to apply neutral principles. And we have to affix our signature to the charging document".

The draft claims that Rosenstein allegedly "participated in a pattern of behavior incompatible with the confidence and confidence placed in him in that place by refusing to honor with a subpoena issued from the House Committee on the Judiciary about March 22, 2018", attached to the congressional research into possible abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

Trump's timing also appeared to be linked to Fox News contributor and former congressman Jason Chaffetz's morning comments about the DOJ and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's assertion that he won't be "extorted" by Congress.

"Rosenstein trashed Congress", Hannity said, adding that lawmakers are simply doing their "Constitutional duty".

Under current law, the Deputy Attorney General is the sole official with the authority to fire Mueller, something that he has publicly ruled out.

The rebuke from Rosenstein was at odds with his earlier actions.

Trump has consistently expressed significant frustration over the Mueller investigation.

Following the Federal Bureau of Investigation raid last month on Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen, multiple sources told CNN the President was considering firing Rosenstein. But his attorneys later said that conflicts of interest prevented the move.

"There are no limits, or no length, that they are not willing to go to just torch the Department of Justice", he said of Trump-aligned Republican lawmakers. And any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job.

Just a few weeks ago, Trump tweeted that, "Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama".

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