Rod Rosenstein defends himself against ‘personal’ attacks from GOP’s Jim Jordan
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray defended themselves against grilling by GOP lawmakers, including Rep. Jim Jordan, on Capitol Hill Thursday, facing off against House Republicans angry over the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email and Trump-Russia investigations.
Their appearance came as the GOP-led House voted along party lines on a resolution demanding the Justice Department comply with document requests and subpoenas from the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees. Some conservatives have suggested the move could be the first of several actions taken against the Justice Department and Rosenstein – including, potentially, censure and impeachment.
In one fiery exchange, Jordan, the pugnacious two-time NCAA champion wrestler from Ohio, accused Rosenstein of hiding information from Congress, and at one point appeared to taunt the embattled deputy attorney general minutes before the House Republicans voted to sanction the Department of Justice over GOP document requests.
“I think in a few minutes, the House of Representatives is going to go on record saying you haven’t complied with requests from a separate but equal branch of government, that you haven’t complied with subpoenas, and you have seven days to get your act together,” Jordan shot back, referring to the nonbinding resolution.
“I am not keeping any information from Congress,” a visibly irritated Rosenstein said, pointing his finger at Jordan. “I certainly hope your colleagues aren’t under that impression, that is not accurate sir.”.
Republicans and Democrats continue to spar over the findings of the Justice Department inspector general’s report on the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation, which concluded that decision-making in the investigation during the 2016 election was not politically motivated, but that some individual actions of some agents damaged the FBI’s credibility.
As President Donald Trump has continued to criticize special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation – which is supervised by Rosenstein – Republicans have been increasingly at odds with the FBI and DOJ over the Justice Department’s response to subpoenas for documents related to the Clinton-email investigation, the Russia probe and other actions involving the Clinton and Trump presidential campaigns.
“It’s really all about getting to the heart of any matter and transparency,” Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a leading conservative, said ahead of the hearing.
Democrats have accused Republicans of making unreasonable document demands tied to the ongoing Russia investigation, as part of a larger effort to discredit the Justice Department and Mueller’s investigation.
“This is part of a sustained, coordinated effort to undermine the investigation of Robert Mueller and the work of the FBI and the Department of Justice, to attack the credibility of the investigators,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary Committee, told ABC News.
On Wednesday, the House Judiciary and Oversight Committee questioned FBI agent Peter Strzok for more than 11 hours behind closed doors.
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