Republicans seek impeachment. But it’s a Trump nemesis they want gone

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein  Mark Reinstein

A handful of conservative members of Congress officially introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday in a move that had been threatened for weeks.

Despite pulling the articles of impeachment, Republicans may still hold a vote as to whether Rosenstein is in contempt of Congress for withholding documents.

"These articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein were filed in bad faith and show extraordinary lengths to which House Republicans will go to protect Trump", tweeted Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Unfortunately, for too long, there has been a culture of stonewalling and misdirection that has permeated the highest levels of these organizations, most especially under the failed leadership of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and former FBI Director James Comey.

During an appearance in Boston, Sessions said Rosenstein had his "highest confidence" and referred to to his top deputy as "highly capable".

It has been argued by people that I respect that this resolution is merely the opening shot of a joint Congress-White House operation aimed at getting rid of Rosenstein for the objective of getting rid of Robert Mueller.

The resolution was filed by Republican Reps.

"I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term", Ryan said.

Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, asserted that Rosenstein had "made every effort to obstruct legitimate attempts of congressional oversight".

Not all Republicans are on board with the impeachment proceedings. Even under subpoena, the Deputy Attorney General has refused to produce necessary documents, because they implicate top Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, including himself.

Democrats charge that Republicans are targeting Rosenstein because they're trying to undercut Mueller's probe.

It's unclear whether there's support in the House to pass the impeachment resolution. A replacement for Rosenstein could fire Mueller or narrow the scope of his work, which Trump has often assailed as a "witch hunt". He and other House and Senate Republicans say they see no enthusiasm for taking definitive action against the No. 2 official at the Justice Department - either now or nearer to the November election.

Meadows, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and the other Republicans who introduced the resolution have criticized Rosenstein and Justice Department officials as not being responsive enough as House committees have requested documents related to the beginning of the Russian Federation investigation and a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails.

"The DOJ is keeping information from Congress".

Meadows said the five-week delay would give the department "one last chance" to deliver.

"Impeachment is a punishment; it's not a remedy", said House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy, who has led one of several House GOP investigations into the department and has complained of anti-Trump bias.

Mueller's indictment this month of 12 Russian intelligence officers on allegations of interfering in the 2016 election has fortified contentions by Democrats and some Republicans that Mueller and Rosenstein should be left alone to finish their work.

It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for lawmakers to demand documents that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation.

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