For more than nine months, House Republicans have been battling the Department of Justice and FBI for a cache of documents they say are necessary to conduct oversight investigations into the FBI’s handling of alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. The backroom battles between lawmakers and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein culminated in impeachment articles filed Wednesday against the deputy attorney general.
The lawmakers did so despite objections by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) who said to reporters Thursday, “Do I support impeachment of Rod Rosenstein? No, I do not.”
Mr. Rosenstein oversaw the potentially improper authorization of FISA searches and electronic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign
Nonetheless, Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) went forward with the articles of impeachment. The lawmakers charged Rosenstein with “high crimes and misdemeanors” and noted that Rosenstein signed off on a search warrant that deliberately withheld vital information from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC). The DOJ under Rosensten was “withholding embarrassing documents and information, knowingly hiding investigative information from Congress,” committing various abuses of the FISA process and refusing to comply with subpoenas, according to the lawmakers. The articles were filed just before the House goes on its five-week August recess and are not expected to come up for a vote until the members return to Washington, congressional officials said.
“Mr. Rosenstein oversaw the potentially improper authorization of FISA searches and electronic surveillance of members of the Trump campaign,” states Article 5 of the impeachment document. “As evidenced by the July 21, 2018 release of the Carter Page FISA application, under Mr. Rosenstein’s supervision, the ‘dossier’ compiled by Christopher Steele on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign formed a material part of the FISA application. Under Mr. Rosenstein’s supervision, the Department of Justice and FBI intentionally obfuscated the fact the dossier was originally a political opposition research document before the FISC.”
Meadows made the decision to file the impeachment articles late Wednesday after a meeting with DOJ and FBI officials. According to Meadows the DOJ was not willing to comply with months of requests, instead, the officials argued they were in “compliance” with Congress.
“They still don’t know the total number of documents they need to produce to the committee after nine months of requests,” Meadow’s told SaraACarter.com.
“Currently, I have filed the impeachment articles as non-privileged, meaning the articles will go to the House Judiciary Committee,” added the lawmaker. “But I have the authority to file the impeachment articles as privileged at any time, and if that happens it goes to the House for a vote within two days.”
Meadows, Jordan and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, among others, have long stated their frustration with the DOJ’s failure to produce the documentation they have requested, saying they have been continuously “stonewalled.”
So far, the committees have uncovered disturbing evidence that exposes a pattern of behavior by FBI and DOJ officials to cover-up and withhold information from not only the congressional committees but from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which approved the warrant to spy on Page. The investigations have uncovered that Steele’s dossier, which remains unverified, was used as the bulk of the evidence presented to the secret court to launch an investigation into President Trump’s campaign, according to congressional sources.
Rosenstein, who signed off on the fourth FISA application on Page, would have been well aware of the information contained in the dossier and also what may have been omitted by the FBI when it turned its application over to the FISC judges.
From the Impeachment Articles
- Rosenstein failed to produce documents requested by the Judiciary Committee.
- DOJ has failed to produce documents pertaining to the FISA application or relating to FISA applications on Page or individuals on the Trump campaign.
- Failed to produce documents or communications referring or relating to the FISC (secret court) and hearings, deliberations and transcripts related to FISC applications on Page or the Trump campaign and Trump Administration.
- All documents and communications referring or relating to defensive briefings by DOJ or FBI regarding the 2016 campaign.
- All documents and communications regarding any possible FISA discussions about the Clinton Foundation or persons associated or in communication with the Clinton Foundation.
Rosenstein’s Failure to comply and obstruct Congressional Investigations
- Rosenstein “attempted to conceal certain facts as documents provided to Congress were heavily and unnecessarily redacted.” According to the impeachment articles, “most of the redacted documents containing material investigative information did not contain law-enforcement-sensitive information, the Department’s stated basis for redactions.”
- Rosenstein’s DOJ redacted the price of (former) FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s $70,000 conference table because it was potentially embarrassing information for the FBI.
- The DOJ under Rosenstein redacted FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s personal relationship with FISC Judge Rudolph Contreras, remember this story.
- Also, under Rosenstein, the DOJ redacted the names of high-ranking Obama administration officials, such as former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough. The DOJ also redacted the names of high-ranking FBI officials, such as former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.