Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has angered congressional Republicans by delaying what was to have been an appearance Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee to answer questions regarding certain unscrupulous behavior.
“It is disappointing Rod Rosenstein will not be answering questions before Congress tomorrow—to put it mildly,” House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows said in a statement Wednesday.
“The Deputy Attorney General owes the American people answers about whether he participated in any conversations or decisions seeking to undermine President Trump’s administration from within. There is reason to be deeply concerned he did.”
The remarks about Rosenstein undermining President Donald Trump referenced a shock report from last month alleging that the deputy attorney general had once floated the possibility of secretly recording the president and invoking the 25th Amendment to forcibly remove him from office.
Rosenstein under fire after shock report he sought to secretly record Trump in effort to oust him https://t.co/HYoc52WHKJ
— Piec Pisano (@PiecP) October 9, 2018
Whether or not this happened still remains somewhat unknown in part because of Rosenstein’s apparent refusal to answer questions about the matter, though evidence unveiled Wednesday by The New York Times points to the allegation having credibility.
“The F.B.I.’s former top lawyer told congressional officials in private testimony last week that he had taken seriously a suggestion by the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, to secretly tape conversations with President Trump but viewed it as too risky and unlikely to deliver meaningful information,” the Times reported, referencing former FBI attorney James. A Baker.
The Times added that Baker’s testimony “contradicts Mr. Rosenstein’s denial,” meaning the deputy attorney general had lied.
“I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false,” he had said.
In a tweet posted Wednesday, Republican Rep. Jim Jordan wondered whether this report by the Times — which was picked up and shared by other outlets, including The Hill — was behind the deputy attorney general’s abrupt decision to delay the Thursday hearing:
-NYT reports (McCabe memos) Rosenstein discussed recording the President
-FBI Chief Counsel Jim Baker: Rosenstein was serious about recording POTUS
-McCabe memos subpoenaed by Congress
Rosenstein won’t turn over memos, and he’s a no-show for tomorrow’s scheduled questioning.
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 10, 2018
Rosenstein a no show for tomorrow. Wonder why?https://t.co/e2OOdpFJET
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) October 10, 2018
Jordan also claimed that “Rosenstein won’t turn over memos” related to the matter. It remains unclear though whether the blame for this lies with Rosenstein or FBI Director Christopher A. Wray.
The Washington Post noted Wednesday that during a hearing before the Senate earlier that day, Wray had stonewalled when asked about memos written by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last year that reportedly mentioned Rosenstein’s idea.
“Will we get that memo?” Sen. Ron Johnson asked Wray during the hearing.
“We have to get back to you about that,” Wray replied, spurring Johnson into accusing him of stonewalling.
“It prevents the people’s representatives from actually getting to the truth. Every time there’s a criminal investigation, Congress can’t get information,” he said.
During that same hearing Wray refused to answer questions by Sen. Rand Paul about whether the FBI or the National Security Agency are currently listening in on the president’s phone conversations.
At this point it’s hard to tell whether government agencies like the Department of Justice and the FBI are working in tandem with the president on behalf of the American people or working against him on behalf of the Democrat Party. Sometimes it feels like it’s the latter.
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