Top Trump ally in Congress says Rosenstein should be impeached even if he was joking about wearing a wire

Rep. Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzPhotos of the Week: Olympic sabre semi-finals, COVID-19 vigil and a loris The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - CDC equates Delta to chickenpox in contagiousness Gaetz, Greene and Gohmert turned away from jail to visit Jan. 6 defendants MORE (R-Fla.) on Thursday said Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE should be impeached, even if he was joking about proposing to secretly record conversations with President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump PACs brought in over M for the first half of 2021 Chicago owes Trump M tax refund, state's attorney mounts legal challenge Biden hits resistance from unions on vaccine requirement MORE and invoking the 25th Amendment.

“It’s just an inappropriate thing to joke about – when you’re overseeing an investigation," Gaetz told co-hosts Krystal Ball and Buck Sexton on Hill.TV's “Rising.”

"When you’re with your colleagues and subordinates you don’t joke about destabilizing the institution of the presidency," he added.

Gaetz, a top Trump ally on Capitol Hill, and other House conservatives have seized on a recent New York Times article that said Rosenstein last year suggested wearing a wire during conversations with Trump, and that he proposed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25 Amendment to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein, who has denied the Times report, is responsible for overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE's Russia probe.

Gaetz is also among the GOP lawmakers who want to declassify documents related to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump last week ordered the DOJ to declassify a number of highly sensitive documents related to the FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, but later delayed their release after he said "key allies" raised concerns. 

Gaetz on Thursday emphasized his support for Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz, saying the official has remained fair in his oversight of investigators throughout the politically charged probe.

"I think the president has a lot of confidence in inspector general Michael Horowitz, as do I," Gaetz said. "He is an Obama appointee, he’s a Democrat, but everything we’ve seen from the inspector general has been right down the middle, up-and-up -- no politics, no conjecture just laying before the Congress what has happened." 

“And I think as we see that in the FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] process, they’ll be some people will have a lot to answer for,” he added.

— Tess Bonn