On Monday we reported that members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. This is of course an unprecedented move, and it is also a sign of desperation on the part of the congressional allies of President Donald Trump.
According to the Washington Post, the articles of impeachment “came after weeks of disputes with Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents about the decisions and behavior of federal law-enforcement officials working on the Russia investigation and other federal probes, including the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server.”
So on Tuesday the normally mild-mannered Rosenstein fired back at his critics in Congress in a way that nobody had ever seen before. He called the drafters of the impeachment articles cowards by saying that he would not comment on impeachment articles “that nobody has the courage to put their name on.”
He also made very clear that he and the United States Department of Justice will not in any way change what they are doing because of empty threats from the Freedom Caucus.
“I think they should understand by now that the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” Rosenstein said. “We’re going to do what’s required by the rule of law, and any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job.”
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) has been feuding with Rosenstein over a failure to turn over documents they want, including the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The impeachment articles criticize Rosenstein for approving the FISA warrant to monitor Page, and then failing to turn over requested documents.
Meadows said Rosenstein’s “response to the draft articles of impeachment is reminiscent of our interactions with him over the past few months: a lot of rhetoric with little facts.”
“If he believes being asked to do his job is ‘extortion,’ then Rod Rosenstein should step aside and allow us to find a new Deputy Attorney General — preferably one who is interested in transparency,” Meadows said.
The actions by Meadows and the Freedom Caucus show the desperation being felt right now by Donald Trump and his allies. They know that the noose is tightening around the president’s neck, and there is very little they can do about it.
The drafting of articles of impeachment against a Department of Justice official doing his job will accomplish nothing other than to show how afraid they are of the special counsel’s probe. And of course they should be afraid, because it is very likely that by the time the Mueller probe is finished the president will be indicted. This is why they are so desperate to interfere with the probe even if it means illegally obstructing justice.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.