Conservative House lawmakers draft articles of impeachment against Rosenstein

A group of conservative House lawmakers have begun drafting a resolution that calls for the impeachment of 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, the top Department of Justice (DOJ) official overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerAn unquestioning press promotes Rep. Adam Schiff's book based on Russia fiction Senate 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 MORE’s Russia investigation.

The impeachment document makes a series of charges against Rosenstein, the latest sign of escalating efforts among conservatives to oust the DOJ’s No. 2 official, according to a copy of the draft obtained by The Hill. 

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There has been no indication, however, that Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHow Kevin McCarthy sold his soul to Donald Trump On The Trail: Retirements offer window into House Democratic mood Stopping the next insurrection MORE (R-Wis.) and other House GOP leaders will act on the measure, having largely remained silent amid calls for his removal by hard-line conservatives. 

Conservative members led by Rep. Mark MeadowsMark MeadowsAre the legal walls closing in on Donald Trump? Jan. 6 probe roils Cheney race in Wyoming House has the power to subpoena its members — but does it have the will? MORE (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a close ally to President TrumpDonald TrumpDeputy AG: DOJ investigating fake Trump electors Former Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz elected to Baseball Hall of Fame Overnight Health Care — Senators unveil pandemic prep overhaul MORE, drafted the eight articles of impeachment against Rosenstein.

The articles include allegations that Rosenstein violated federal law by refusing to comply with a congressional subpoena over Congress’s efforts to obtain documents about FBI surveillance during the election, intentionally stalling document production for congressional investigations into possible government misconduct and failing to enforce key laws and protocols.

"[Rosenstein] failed to act on the behalf of the Attorney General by properly supervising the administration of [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] by failing to demonstrate probable cause to believe that targets of surveillance were a foreign power or agents of a foreign power, that a significant purpose of the surveillance was to obtain foreign intelligence information, and that appropriate minimization procedures were in place," according to the third charge.

Count five charges Rosenstein of "knowingly provided misleading statements related to his supervision of the initial Department of Justice investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia when he testified under oath before Congress on December 13, 2017 that any involvement FBI attorney Bruce Ohr had in the Russian investigation was without his knowledge."

Meadows, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, first hinted that Rosenstein’s future at the Justice Department may be on shaky ground during an appearance on CNN last week.

Rosenstein has increasingly become a popular target among hard-line conservatives over the last year.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE recused himself last year from overseeing the federal probe into Russian meddling in the presidential election, handing the keys to Rosenstein, who has served as the gatekeeper of the special counsel. Mueller is investigating whether there are ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Trump has blasted the investigation as a "witch hunt," denying any collusion or coordination between his campaign and Russia.

The president has also blasted Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing the investigation.

While the DOJ has been providing documents to the committees, GOP lawmakers also criticize Rosenstein for slowly turning over documents that Republicans say are key to carrying out congressional investigations into FBI and DOJ decision-making during the 2016 presidential election.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyTrey GowdyTrey Gowdy sets goal of avoiding ideological echo chamber with Fox News show Fox News signs Trey Gowdy, Dan Bongino for new shows Pompeo rebukes Biden's new foreign policy MORE (R-S.C.), however, announced last week that they had reached a deal with the DOJ about producing records, although they would not provide any additional details about the deal despite repeated requests for comment on the matter.

When asked earlier this month if he is seeing a general improvement in cooperation with the DOJ, Gowdy replied, “definitely.”

Democrats have repeatedly warned that the president may seek to replace the top two Justice Department officials with lackeys, who can then either seek to fire Mueller or curb his ability to run the high-profile investigation.

Firing Rosenstein and putting in a Trump loyalist would be like putting Mueller in a “straightjacket,”  Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats ask for information on specialized Border Patrol teams Are the legal walls closing in on Donald Trump? Oath Keeper charges renew attention on Trump orbit MORE (Md.), a senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said during a press conference last month. 

While the GOP base could strongly support efforts to impeach Rosenstein, such a move also risks alienating moderate and independent voters during the upcoming 2018 midterm elections.

The Washington Post first reported the draft, which it says will not likely receive enough support in Congress.

A DOJ spokesperson declined to comment on the charges in the draft. 

A spokesperson from Ryan's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the matter.