Meadows threatens to force a vote on Rosenstein impeachment

Meadows threatens to force a vote on Rosenstein impeachment

Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsPence aide defends Meadows after ethics panel reprimand: He ‘had my back’ Ethics panel reprimands Freedom Caucus chairman over handling of harassment allegations McCarthy, other Republicans back Ratcliffe to be next attorney general MORE (R-N.C.) on Wednesday night threatened to force a vote on the GOP resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller: Whitaker appointment has 'no effect' on ongoing legal challenge Senate Dems sue to block Whitaker from serving as attorney general Mueller could turn easy Trump answers into difficult situation 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."

Meadows, along with Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanRep. Mike Johnson wins race for RSC chairman Election Countdown: Florida Senate race heads to hand recount | Dem flips Maine House seat | New 2020 trend - the 'friend-raiser' | Ad war intensifies in Mississippi runoff | Blue wave batters California GOP Heads up, GOP: Elections have consequences MORE (R-Ohio), on Wednesday filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, the top Department of Justice (DOJ) official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe 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 RyanPaul Ryan defends Navy admiral after Trump's criticism On The Money: Senate banking panel showcases 2020 Dems | Koch groups urge Congress not to renew tax breaks | Dow down nearly 400 | Cuomo defends Amazon HQ2 deal Koch groups: Congress shouldn't renew expired tax breaks MORE (R-Wis.) has not signed on in support of the resolution, but Meadows said it does not "require the consent of the Speaker."

"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 CummingsCummings on 'Adam Schitt': 'Mr. President, please do not do that' Top House Oversight Dem says he will do ‘anything and everything’ to make Mueller’s findings public Sunday shows preview: New members preview agendas after Democratic House takeover MORE (D-Md.) and Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffCummings on 'Adam Schitt': 'Mr. President, please do not do that' Dem rep on Trump 'Adam Schitt' tweet: 'I feel like I'm back in seventh grade' The Hill's Morning Report — GOP victorious in Florida while Dems say `Sunbelt strategy’ looks bright for 2020 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.