Lawmakers to Privately Question DOJ’s Rosenstein on Trump ‘Wiring’ Comment Allegation

September 28, 2018 Updated: October 5, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has agreed to a closed-door talk with Congress regarding his alleged proposal to secretly record President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein spoke with Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) on the night of Sept. 27 “and agreed on a meeting in a couple weeks,” a Justice Department spokesperson told The Epoch Times via email.

The meeting has the support of the GOP House leadership, according to Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.).

“Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed-door hearing with our panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on ‘wiring’ POTUS–as well as other inconsistent statements,” Meadows wrote in a Sept. 28 tweet. “If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him.”

The panel will include Goodlatte and Meadows as well as Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), John Ratcliffe (R-Tex.), Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), and Ken Buck (R-Colo.), per Politico.

Goodlatte-Jordan-and-Gowdy-in-the-Rayburn-House-Office-Building
Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) with Rep. Jim Jordan (C) and Rep. Trey Gowdy in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on July 12, 2018. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

In May 2017, Rosenstein allegedly suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump and brought up the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to remove the commander in chief, The New York Times reported Sept. 21 based on unnamed sources.

Rosenstein dismissed the article as “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”

“Let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” he said in a statement.

Rosenstein made the comment in jest, according to an unnamed official who was present at the meeting and whose statement was provided to The New York Times by a Justice Department spokesperson.

Trump said he talked to Rosenstein and that he denied making the statement. Trump also said he’d prefer not to fire Rosenstein. “We’ll see,” the President said during a Sept. 26 press conference. The two met briefly on Sept. 27.

Meadows said Rosenstein needs to repeat the denial under oath.

“I think he needs to come in before Congress, raise his right hand and swear,” he told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Sept. 27. “Because, I can tell you, there are a number of things … that Rod did say that really need some accountability.”

Rep. Mark Meadows at the U.S. Capitol on June 21, 2018. (Alex WongGetty Images)

Jordan, also on Hannity, concurred.

“He needs to be in front of Congress answering questions. Do we really want in this country the guy who is, in effect, running the Justice Department talking about recording the commander in chief’s conversations?“ he said. “Even if it’s done in jest. It shouldn’t be done in jest, it shouldn’t be done at all.”

Rosenstein Trail

Rosenstein has been involved in some of the Trump administration’s most contentious issues.

He authored the memo in 2017 that accused then-FBI Director James Comey of botching the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information.

Trump used the memo to fire Comey, but Comey said he had a feeling Trump fired him because of how he handled the FBI counterintelligence probe of alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia.

Comey’s firing was then used by Rosenstein to appoint Special Counsel Robert Mueller to take over the FBI probe, which, till this day, hasn’t substantiated the allegations.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Mueller probe, leaving it in Rosenstein’s hands.

But Congress investigators found that the probe itself was suspect.

Russiagate

Documents released so far have shown the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page using unverified claims from the now infamous Steele dossier.

The dossier was paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. Former British spy Christopher Steele compiled it using second- and third-hand sources with ties to the Kremlin and Russian intelligence services.

Russia has been known to have tried for decades to undermine American democracy by various methods, including disinformation. A key part of disinformation is feeding false or misleading information to credible sources, who then lend it legitimacy.

The FISA warrant was renewed for the third and last time in June 2017. Rosenstein was one of the officials who signed it. Another signatory was then-Deputy Director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe.

Counter Investigation

The Russia probe is being investigated by congressional Republicans as well as the Justice Department Inspector General, whose report is expected later this year. Some lawmakers have reported a number of former FBI and Justice Department officials for criminal investigation for violating Page’s rights.

Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller probe as an illegal “Witch Hunt.”

“The illegal Mueller Witch Hunt continues in search of a crime. There was never Collusion with Russia, except by the Clinton campaign, so the 17 Angry Democrats are looking at anything they can find. Very unfair and BAD for the country. ALSO, not allowed under the LAW!” Trump wrote on Twitter on Sept. 16.

Trump said he plans to meet with Rosenstein after the confirmation proceedings of his Supreme Court pick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

Neither the offices of Reps. Meadows and Jordan, nor the House oversight committee responded to requests for a comment.

Ivan Pentchoukov contributed to this report.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
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