Rod Rosenstein tore into Freedom Caucus members for threatening to impeach him – but not before laughing at them.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fired back at Republican efforts to impede Department of Justice investigations into Trump and his associates during a wide-ranging question and answer session hosted by Washington D.C.’s Newseum.
At one point, CNN justice reporter Laura Jarrett asked Rosenstein about recent reports that the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus had drafted articles of impeachment against him.
Rosenstein, clearly amused, can be heard laughing as Jarrett asked the question, responding: “”They can’t even resist leaking their own drafts.”
Continuing, Rosenstein noted that the draft failed to include any signature.
“The way we operate in the Department of Justice, if we are going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, and credible witnesses, we need to be prepared to prove our case in court. And we have to fix our signature to the charging document, and that is something that not everybody appreciates,” Rosenstein told the audience, adding: “I just don’t have anything to say about documents like that that nobody has the courage to put their name on and they leak in that way.“
“There have been people that have been making threats, publicly and privately, 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 continued. “We are going to do what is required by the rule of law and [any] kind of threats that anyone makes are not going to affect the way we do our job. We have a responsibility and we take an oath. That’s the whole point.”
“When you take this job you have to be appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate and that is actually a very thorough process. And then you raise your right arm and you swear an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. You promise to bear true faith and allegiance to the same and you take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion ‘so help me God.’ And that’s your responsibility. Everyone in the department takes that oath – we have 115,000 employees. And if they violate it, they know they are going to be held accountable. And I know, those folks know I am not going to violate that oath.”
The Washington Post provided the following background on the Freedom Party draft:
Conservative House allies of President Trump have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the ongoing special counsel probe, setting up a possible GOP showdown over the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus — led by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a Trump confidant — finalized the draft in recent days. It 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.
The draft articles, which one of its authors called a ‘last resort,’ would be unlikely to garner significant support in Congress. But the document could serve as a provocative political weapon for conservatives in their standoff with Mueller and the Justice Department.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on @freedomcaucus members considering his impeachment: "They can't even resist leaking their own drafts." He also says, "The Department of Justice is not going to be extorted.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 1, 2018