Yesterday, multiple outlets reported that members of the House Freedom Caucus, a far-right group of House conservatives, had begun drafting articles of impeachment against deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who’s in charge of the Russia investigation. Today, Rosenstein shot back at those Republicans, saying their plan is tantamount to extortion and implying that they’re cowards.
In a question-and-answer session at the Newseum in Washington D.C., today, Rosenstein said that House conservatives “can’t even resist leaking their own drafts” and that they don’t have “the courage to put their name on it.” Per the Associated Press:
“I can tell you there have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now, the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” Rosenstein said, in response to a question about news reports on the articles of impeachment.
“We’re going to do what’s required by the rule of law,” he added. “And any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job.”
On Monday, the Washington Post described the drafting of the articles of impeachment as a “last resort” for Trump’s lackeys in Congress, after “weeks of disputes with Rosenstein over the Justice Department’s response to congressional requests for documents about the decisions,” as well as the “behavior of federal law enforcement officials working on the Russia investigation and other federal probes.”
“If we were to just open our doors to allow Congress to come and rummage through the files, that would be a serious infringement on the separation of powers,” Rosenstein said on Tuesday. “It might resolve a dispute today, but it would have negative repercussions in the long run, and we have a responsibility to defend the institution.”
Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, the chair of the Freedom Caucus, shot back at Rosenstein after Rosenstein’s remarks became public:
As the AP notes, the House Republican leadership hasn’t indicated that it supports the measure; in April, Speaker Paul Ryan said Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller “should be allowed to do their jobs.”
Less than a month ago, it was reported that Trump was considering firing Rosenstein in the wake of the Cohen raid, so who knows if Rosenstein will be around long enough to ever face impeachment anyway.