A group of 11 Trump-supporting House conservatives finally introduced a resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday, ramping up their feud with the Justice Department in the hope of derailing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.While the long-threatened resolution — for allegedly stonewalling congressional subpoenas and hiding information from Congress — is the most significant move President Donald Trump’s backers have made in the political battle over the probe, the measure is largely symbolic with slim prospects for success.
For Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, to be impeached, the resolution would have to be backed by a majority in the House — where the issue divides members of the GOP — and two-thirds of the U.S. Senate. While Republicans control both chambers, they only have a 51-49 advantage in the Senate.The articles were introduced by House Freedom Caucus leaders Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, who were backed by nine other House members in accusing Rosenstein of hiding investigative information from Congress, failure to comply with congressional subpoenas and other misconduct.“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress,” Jordan said. “Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role.”Rep. Adam Schiff, the leading Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, tweeted that the articles “were filed in bad faith and show extraordinary lengths to which House Republicans will go to protect Trump.”
“History will record these Members as willing accomplices in the most serious threat to the rule of law in a generation,” he said. Democrats have said the attacks on Rosenstein are politically-motivated, in a bid to undercut the Mueller probe.Rosenstein — whose role supervising Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has made him a punching bag for Trump’s backers — has previously hit back at the criticism from House Republicans. In May, he said the Justice Department was "not going to be extorted" by the threats of impeachment.The articles were filed the day before the House is scheduled to go into recess until September, which suggests their real purpose was to gin up Trump’s base before House members headed home.
Cover image: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and 3 Russian organizations for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election February 16, 2018 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)