Representatives Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) led a group of 11 Republicans in introducing five articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday, July 25.
Liberty Nation’s Graham J. Noble predicted that this might happen after Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray faced a particularly scathing congressional hearing back in June. Rosenstein stands accused of intentionally withholding documents from Congress, failing to comply with congressional subpoenas, and abusing the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
The first article explains that a second Special Counsel in the Russian investigation had been requested multiple times for “apparent and actual” conflicts of interest, but denied each time. It further points out that Rosenstein signed the FBI’s application to renew FISA surveillance on Carter Page, making him a fact witness to the ongoing investigation of FISA abuse. Since this is a conflict of interest, he should have recused himself. Both issues constitute dereliction of duty, according to the GOP Representatives.
Article II accuses Rosenstein and the Department of Justice of refusing to produce documents as requested by the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform multiple times – in direct conflict with the constitutional duty of both committees to conduct oversight of both the FBI and the Department of Justice.
This article points out that Rosenstein seemed to ignore three letters requesting information, a subpoena, and a Memorandum-of-Understanding to expedite the turning over of the previously required documents. According to whistleblower documents provided to Congress in July 2018, the Rosenstein-led DOJ and FBI knowingly withheld information to avoid oversight.
Additionally, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has instructed material fact witnesses to refuse to release information under the jurisdiction of the joint investigation – even though much of that information was not law enforcement sensitive and was available through open source reporting. Finally, testimony given to the committees on July 13 revealed that the Department of Justice didn’t notify material fact witnesses of multiple congressional requests for testimony.
An in camera review of DOJ documents revealed that, under the supervision of Rod Rosenstein, the Department tried to conceal certain facts by heavily and unnecessarily redacting the documents. For example, they tried to hide the price of Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table merely because the information could be embarrassing.
They also concealed Peter Strzok’s personal relationship with FISC Judge Rudolph Contreras. They redacted the names of high-ranking Obama administration officials, like former House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and high-ranking FBI officials, like former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
The DOJ conceded that the redactions were needlessly heavy-handed, and agreed that some information should not have been redacted in a letter to Representatives Meadows and Jordan in April.
When Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the Special Counsel in May of 2017, he wrote a memo detailing the scope of the investigation. Again, in August of 2017, Rosenstein drafted a memo explaining the scope of the investigation, which began with “the following allegations were within the scope of the investigation at the time of your appointment and are within the scope of the order” – but nearly everything that followed was redacted. The lack of information raises concerns that Mueller might actually have been appointed based on a counterintelligence basis, rather than criminal, which would fall outside the regulations for special counsel investigations.
Additionally, the heavily redacted classified memo called into question the government’s basis for alleging collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and whether these allegations resulted in crimes worthy of investigation. Despite the significant public interest and the constitutional authority of Congress to conduct oversight, Mr. Rosenstein continued to refuse to provide more information from the memos, even in classified meetings.
Rosenstein oversaw the authorization of FISA searches and electronic surveillance of Trump campaign members. It was under his supervision that the infamous Trump dossier compiled by Christopher Steele for the DNC and Hillary Clinton became a material part of the FISA application.
This article posits that it was Rosenstein who failed to properly vet the dossier and who intentionally obfuscated the fact that before the FISC, it was a piece of opposition research against Trump’s campaign. All of these actions and inactions by Rosenstein and those under his supervision destroyed the public’s confidence in the FISA process, as that confidence relates to the court’s ability to hold the government to the highest standard – especially in the surveillance of American citizens.
Rosenstein Not So Untouchable
Whether Rosenstein is guilty of all these allegations or not, as LN’s Leesa K. Donner explained, “there is reason to believe Rosenstein is guilty of abusing his power.” Regardless of how far these articles of impeachment go, it is clear now that the Rod Rosenstein’s power isn’t absolute – and that he’s not so untouchable after all.