Conservative House Republicans and allies of the president have filed articles of impeachment against the deputy attorney general, who is overseeing the Mueller investigation.
In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein should be impeached because of the Justice Department's stonewalling of congressional subpoenas and hiding information from Congress, and for signing one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewals for Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page. They have expressed anger with what they say is Rosenstein's lack of cooperation in providing documents related to the Russian Federation investigation to Congress.
The House Republicans accuse Rosenstein of withholding documents and of being insufficiently transparent in his leadership of the investigation. Rosenstein has overseen the special counsel's probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
During an appearance in Boston, Sessions said Rosenstein had his "highest confidence" and referred to to his top deputy as "highly capable".
Asked in May about rumblings that House Republicans might move to impeachment, Rosenstein was defiant. Conservative members led by Reps.
Meadows, the North Carolina Republican who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, and Jordan, the Ohio Republican who is the former chairman of that caucus, have been highly critical of Rosenstein, with Jordan and Rosenstein exchanging testy remarks at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing last month. If the department does not comply during the legislative break, Republicans may move to hold Rosenstein in contempt instead of voting to impeach him.
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"It is a panicked and unsafe attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates", the statement read, in part. Rosenstein has fiercely pushed back against his House Republican critics, warning in May that the Justice Department is "not going to be extorted" amid threats that he could be impeached. A replacement for Rosenstein could fire Mueller or narrow the scope of his work, which Trump has often assailed as a "witch hunt". "Trying to remove Rod Rosenstein from the Justice Department for failing to disclose sources, methods and evidence from an open investigation is beyond the pale". "The president has been clear that he wants the DOJ to be transparent and co-operate with Congress", spokesman Hogan Gidley told reporters.
Meadows, Jordan, House intelligence committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes and other Republicans want documents from the Justice Department related to the use of confidential sources and other aspects of the early stage of the FBI's counterintelligence investigation into Russia's attack on the 2016 election.
Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Elijah Cummings of Maryland and Adam Schiff of California said Rosenstein "stands as one of the few restraints against the overreaches of the president and his allies in Congress".
"Information has been hidden, efforts have been stonewalled", Meadows said during an appearance on Fox News Wednesday night.
Part of that effort, Democrats have said, includes what they see as Republicans making unreasonable document demands tied to the ongoing Russian Federation investigation.
But Meadows said separately on Thursday that he doesn't intend to give up his push to get more information and more documents from the Justice Department. "Removing Mr. Rosenstein from office is the only option left to Congress".