Yesterday we posted on the leaked emails that suggested Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein had tried to intimidate the House Intel Committee members into backing away from their vigorous oversight by suggesting he would subpoena emails, phone records and other documents from members and aides of the committee.
Last night AG Jeff Sessions was asked about this and he refuted it based on the word of those he talked to who were in the room. Because he wasn’t in the room:
.@TuckerCarlson: "Did the deputy attorney general threaten to subpoena the email or phone records of members of the House Intel Committee?"
— Fox News (@FoxNews) June 13, 2018
Of course the Fox News report yesterday did indicate that the FBI and DOJ disagreed with the characterization in the emails, so it doesn’t surprise me that Wray and Rosenstein told Sessions no threats or intimidation happened.
In a new article today, Fox News is reporting how members of congress are hitting back against Sessions and Rosenstein:
But Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who sits on the House Oversight Committee, blasted Sessions for the remarks, saying he was “flabbergasted.”
“I mean what is the attorney general saying?” he said on “The Ingraham Angle,” before listing a series of areas in which he believes Rosenstein has not complied with committee requests.
“[A]nd today we learned in Catherine’s report that … Rod Rosenstein was threatening members of the House Intelligence Committee for doing their job, for trying to get answers for the American people and the attorney general says ‘that’s okay, we’re doing just fine’?”
Jordan and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said that they will push for a House vote on a resolution that would urge Rosenstein to comply with committee requests.
Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz further claimed that he’s heard about “threats” from Rosenstein as well, saying “the DOJ’s intimidation and stone-walling tactics have gone too far.”
“I’ve heard first-hand from congressional staff following threats delivered by Rod Rosenstein,” he said in a statement. “Staff has literally been scared to the point of physically shaking in my congressional office out of concern for their family.”
Gaetz went on to say that Rosenstein was “intractably conflicted” and should recuse himself from investigations into the Trump campaign and the behavior of FBI and DOJ officials.
“Now, from refusing to produce documents, to improperly redacting documents, to threatening our staff, it is clear that Rod Rosenstein will use every tool at his disposal to frustrate congressional oversight,” he said.
On Tuesday night on Fox News’ “The Story,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-.S.C., told host Martha MacCallum he has “just about had it with the Rosenstein approach.”
“We have a duty to oversee the Department of Justice, and here’s what I’d say to Mr. Rosenstein: If you don’t believe that the Department of Justice was off the rails, you are clearly not looking at the same Department of Justice I’m looking at,” Graham said.
“If you don’t believe the FBI was in the tank for [Hillary] Clinton and hated Trump, you’re not looking at the emails over there to be seen. So don’t be upset because we’re calling you out on having a Department of Justice that is out of control,” he said.
And now this is what the DOJ is saying actually happened in the January meeting:
A DOJ official also told Fox News that Rosenstein “never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation.” The official said the department and bureau officials in the room “are all quite clear that the characterization of events laid out here is false,” adding that Rosenstein was responding to a threat of contempt.
“The Deputy Attorney General was making the point—after being threatened with contempt — that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false,” the official said. “That is why he put them on notice to retain relevant emails and text messages, and he hopes they did so. (We have no process to obtain such records without congressional approval.)”
Ok I can kinda see why they took that as a threat; it actually sounds like one – a veiled one at the very least.
After all, Rosenstein was saying that if they hold him in contempt for not complying with the document requests, he will come after them, their emails and text messages. And then to top it off he put them on notice to keep all their emails and text messages. Wow.
Maybe Sessions would like to revisit his statement on this issue…