Meadows threatens to force a vote on Rosenstein impeachment

Meadows threatens to force a vote on Rosenstein impeachment

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Miami pauses reopenings as COVID-19 infections rise, schools nationally plot return Overnight Health Care: Trump downplaying of COVID-19 sparks new criticism of response Trump downplaying sparks new criticism of COVID-19 response MORE (R-N.C.) on Wednesday night threatened to force a vote on the GOP resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinSupreme Court to hear dispute over Democrats' access to Mueller materials Republicans release newly declassified intelligence document on FBI source Steele GOP's Obama-era probes fuel Senate angst MORE

Meadows told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that any lawmaker can force the issue to the House floor without leadership support by offering the resolution as a "privileged motion," meaning the House must vote on it within two days.

"Certainly, we hope it doesn’t have to come to that," Meadows said on Ingraham's show "The Ingraham Angle."

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Meadows, along with Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanNadler: Barr dealings with Berman came 'awfully close to bribery' How conservative conspiracy theories are deepening America's political divide GOP-Trump fractures on masks open up MORE (R-Ohio), on Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, the top Department of Justice (DOJ) official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE's Russia investigation. That measure is not a privileged resolution so it cannot be brought straight to the House floor. 

The articles of impeachment charge that Rosenstein has a conflict of interest in Mueller's probe, and has failed to produce documents for ongoing investigations into the FBI and DOJ's conduct during the 2016 presidential election.

"And quite frankly, it’s either we hold them in contempt or we get the documents or we impeach them," Meadows added on Fox. "And the only thing we have control over is to bring impeachment straight to the floor." 

Republican lawmakers have targeted Rosenstein for months, but some have voiced concerns about the movement to impeach him. 

House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanBush, Romney won't support Trump reelection: NYT Twitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting — here's why Lobbying world MORE (R-Wis.) has not signed on in support of the resolution, but Meadows said it does not "require the consent of the Speaker."

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"What we put in today was nonprivileged," Meadows said, explaining the details of the process. "It goes in, gets referred to the [House] Judiciary Committee, but starting tomorrow, we can bring it up as a privileged motion." 

"It really means that it would require a vote on the House floor within two days, and that’s something any member of Congress, Jim [Jordan] or I, can do," he continued.

Meadows is the chair of the House Freedom Caucus, a voting bloc made up of some of the most conservative members of the House. All eleven House members who signed onto the impeachment resolution are members of the caucus who have been some of Rosenstein's fiercest critics. 

Conservatives frustrated with Mueller's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election have long targeted Rosenstein, with some lawmakers claiming he has delayed their probe into FBI agents involved in Mueller's investigation who they feel are biased against Trump.  

Jordan said they want to impeach Rosenstein because they believe he has "stonewalled" efforts by Congress to obtain documents necessary for their investigations. 

"We’re tired of the Justice Department giving us the finger and not giving us the information," he told Ingraham. 

Democrats have called the attempt at impeachment "a direct attack on the special counsel’s investigation."

"It is a panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates," said the top Democrats on the House Judiciary, Oversight and Government Reform and Intelligence committees, Reps. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsFacial recognition tools under fresh scrutiny amid police protests The sad spectacle of Trump's enablers Democrat Kweisi Mfume wins House primary in Maryland MORE (D-Md.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffSupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Schiff to Vindman: 'Right does not matter to Trump. But it matters to you' Democrats hit Trump for handling of Russian bounty allegations after White House briefing MORE (D-Calif.), respectively, in a joint statement.

Rosenstein in May pushed back at his GOP critics, saying that the Justice Department is "not going to be extorted" in response to the threat of impeachment.