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 Jay RosensteinTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hill.TV INTERVIEW EXCLUSIVE: Trump eviscerates Sessions: ‘I don’t have an attorney general’ Dem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ MORE, 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.

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 RyanElection Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls On The Money: Midterms to shake up House finance panel | Chamber chief says US not in trade war | Mulvaney moving CFPB unit out of DC | Conservatives frustrated over big spending bills Nancy Pelosi: Will she remain the ‘Face of the Franchise’? 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 Randall MeadowsConservatives left frustrated as Congress passes big spending bills Graham to renew call for second special counsel Hillicon Valley: Sanders finds perfect target in Amazon | Cyberattacks are new fear 17 years after 9/11 | Firm outs alleged British Airways hackers | Trump to target election interference with sanctions | Apple creating portal for police data requests MORE (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus and a close ally to President TrumpDonald John TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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 SessionsTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter 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 GoodlatteVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans ready to grill Bruce Ohr as Trump-DOJ feud escalates MORE (R-Va.) and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe 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 RaskinDems seek probe into EPA head’s meetings with former clients Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback Sparks fly at hearing on anti-conservative bias in tech 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.