House Republicans move to impeach Rod Rosenstein

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The bid by conservative GOP lawmakers to pressure Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein by filing articles of impeachment against him landed without a thud on Capitol Hill, where other Republicans rejected it outright, and one of its lead sponsors backed off after less than one day. "This is part of a sustained, coordinated effort to undermine the investigation of Robert Mueller and the work of the FBI and the Department of Justice, to attack the credibility of the investigators", Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., a member of the Judiciary Committee, told ABC News last month.

The articles were introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Jim Jordan of OH, along with 9 cosponsors.

It is also expected to force key Republican leaders to choose sides after many of them have sought to distance themselves from the controversial President's moves to protect himself.

Sessions, meanwhile, said in Boston on Thursday that Rosenstein is capable and that he enjoys Sessions' "highest confidence".

A House GOP aide told ABC News Wednesday night that the articles of impeachment were not filed as a "privileged resolution", meaning they can not force a vote on it on the House floor. Republican congressmember and Freedom Caucus chair Mark Meadows says he will instead seek to charge Rosenstein with contempt of Congress if he doesn't turn over documents Meadows is seeking.

Yesterday, The New York Times reported that among other things, Mueller is scrutinizing Trump's twitter feed - particularly those that seem to threaten Sessions and former FBI Director James Comey - as potential evidence of obstruction of justice. President Donald Trump has fumed about Mueller's probe and repeatedly called it a "witch hunt".

Democrats argue the move is little more than an attempt to damage the investigation into Trump's dealings.

Secret Trump-Cohen Tape Shows ‘An Obvious Fraud’
Mr Trump's current lawyer, Mr Rudy Giuliani , said he got an audio expert to enhance the recording, the Associated Press reported. Davis does acknowledge that Trump used the word "check" toward the end of the tape. "After Michael Cohen mentioned financing".

A Justice Department official said the agency had no comment.

"It's very clear that DOJ has to provide the information because the House of Representatives has the responsibility and accountability to oversee", said Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Even if they could get the House to impeach Rosenstein, the closely divided Senate is unlikely to follow suit.

Asked in May about rumblings that House Republicans might move to impeachment, Rosenstein was defiant.

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.

Justice Department officials, briefing reporters Wednesday on condition of anonymity, said the department has fully complied with two subpoenas from the House Intelligence Committee and met nearly all demands in a subpoena from the House Judiciary Committee. While we have acted in good faith and given DAG Rosenstein every opportunity to comply with Congressional requests, he has evaded our attempts to conduct oversight time and time again.

Lawmakers voted 226-183, along party lines, to pass the resolution, which Meadows introduced.

The officials said the only document the department won't make available to lawmakers is an unredacted version of a memorandum from Rosenstein to Mueller authorizing specific activities once he took over the Russian Federation investigation.

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