Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is currently traveling abroad, as the release of the inspector general report nears, and as pressure grows for the Justice Department to approve Joe Pientka—the FBI agent who interviewed Michael Flynn—to appear before the Senate judiciary committee.
The release of the report, and details on the Flynn interview, are expected to significantly affect the investigations on Russian interference in the 2016 elections. They are also expected to give more insight into how the Obama administration used double standards in spying on the Trump team while not, for instance, holding Hillary Clinton to account.
A Justice Department official told Fox News that Rosenstein is currently representing the United States abroad in a “brief and unrelated visit.” The representative did not say which country, but did say it’s “one of America’s key intelligence partners.”
The chairman of the Senate judiciary committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), is pressing hard for the Justice Department to release the report and approve the FBI agent interview.
On March 15, Grassley was joined by Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) to call for the appointment of a new special counsel to work with the inspector general and review how the Justice Department and FBI handled the investigations into Trump and Russia, and how this led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller.
The senators write that while they trust the inspector general will complete the reviews properly, “by statute, the Inspector General does not have the tools that a prosecutor would to gather all the facts, such as the ability to obtain testimony from essential witnesses who are not current DOJ employees. Thus, we believe that a special counsel is needed to work with the Inspector General to independently gather the facts and make prosecutorial decisions, if any are merited.”