National Security

Jordan, Rosenstein in fiery back-and-forth over DOJ documents

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein punched back at one of the fiercest critics of the Department of Justice, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), in an extraordinary and bitter exchange just moments before the House voted on a measure aimed squarely at him.

Jordan, in a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday morning, immediately fired on Rosenstein for “withholding information from Congress.” 
A tight-faced Rosenstein flatly denied those accusations, as Jordan repeatedly interrupted his responses — prompting some Democrats to step in to demand that he be allowed to answer the questions. 

“I think in a few minutes the House of Representatives is going to go on record saying you have not complied with requests from a separate and equal branch of government, that you haven’t complied with subpoenas, and you got seven days to get your act together,” Jordan said. “And I don’t know why you won’t give us what we’ve asked for.”

“Sir, I certainly hope that your colleagues are not under that impression. It is not accurate sir—” Rosenstein said.

“It is accurate,” an animated Jordan said. “We have caught you hiding information.”

The percussive back-and-forth escalated sharply as Jordan continued to volley accusations at Rosenstein. In one exchange, Jordan hammered him for allegedly using redactions to conceal information. 

“Now Mr. Jordan, I am the deputy attorney general of the United States. Okay?” Rosenstein said in obvious annoyance. “I am not the person doing the redacting. I am responsible for responding to your concerns as I am. I have a team with me, sir — a fraction of the team that is doing this work, and whenever you’ve brought these [issues] to my attention, I have taken appropriate steps to remedy them. So your statement that I am personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information—”

“You’re the boss, Mr. Rosenstein,” Jordan interrupted.

“That’s correct, and my job is to make sure we respond to your requests. And we have, sir. Again, I appreciate your concerns—”

“Again, I think the House of Representatives is going to say otherwise,” Jordan cut in.

Finally, the soft-spoken deputy attorney general appeared to snap: “But your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong.”


Rosenstein got in another sharp jab at Jordan later in the hearing, when Jordan pressed Rosenstein on allegations that he had “threatened” to “subpoena phones and emails” for House Intelligence Committee staffers amidst the dispute over record production. 
“Did you threaten to subpoena phones and emails?” Jordan asked. 
Rosenstein fired back without missing a beat. 
“No sir, and there’s no way to subpoena phone calls,” he said, before brusquely switching off his mic. The room erupted into laughter. 

“I’m just relying on what the press says!” Jordan said. 

“I would suggest you not rely on what the press said, sir,” Rosenstein said. 

Olivia Beavers contributed
Tags Jim Jordan Rod Rosenstein
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