Sessions defends Rosenstein amid House GOP impeachment push

Sessions defends Rosenstein amid House GOP impeachment push
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump reignites court fight with Ninth Circuit pick Democrats press Nadler to hold Lewandowski in contempt Pelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' MORE fiercely defended his deputy Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe MORE on Thursday morning after a group of House conservatives introduced an impeachment resolution against him. 

“My deputy, Rod Rosenstein, is highly capable,” Sessions said at an event in Boston when asked to address the impeachment efforts. “I have the highest confidence in him. You probably know that not only did he go to the Wharton School of Business, but he graduated from Harvard right here in this area.”

His comments came after a group of House conservatives led by Reps. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsClarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump The Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' GOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanDemocrat accuses GOP of opposing DC statehood because of 'race and partisanship' The Hill Interview: Sanford says Trump GOP doing 'serious brand destruction' Trump slams Democrats as 'shameful' after Lewandowski hearing MORE (R-Ohio) on Wednesday night introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The lawmakers have grown increasingly furious with the Justice Department for what they view as a failure to turn over documents requested by Congress related to the department’s probes into Russia's election interference and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMissing piece to the Ukraine puzzle: State Department's overture to Rudy Giuliani On The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Meghan McCain, Ana Navarro get heated over whistleblower debate MORE’s emails.

“The DOJ is keeping information from Congress. Enough is enough. It’s time to hold Mr. Rosenstein accountable for blocking Congress’s constitutional oversight role,” Jordan said in a statement. 

Sessions said Thursday that Congress would be better served to focus on working on passing immigration legislation.

“What I would like Congress to do is to focus on some of the legal challenges that are out there. We need Congress to deal with the immigration question,” Sessions told reporters.

“There are loopholes in our laws that are being exploited. We need to get them focused and we are pleading with them to do so. Our job and our enforcement officers' jobs are far more difficult than they need to be. Commonsense legislation can make a big difference. That’s where I would like to see them focus their time,” Sessions said.

The articles filed Wednesday include a series of allegations against Rosenstein, such as accusing him of having a conflict of interest in special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE’s probe. The lawmakers allege he is a “witness” in the investigation because he signed off on a renewal of an FBI application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page. 

Democrats have cast the effort as an effort to attack Mueller’s investigation, which has frequently attracted ire from President TrumpDonald John TrumpJulián Castro: It's time for House Democrats to 'do something' about Trump Warren: Congress is 'complicit' with Trump 'by failing to act' Sanders to join teachers, auto workers striking in Midwest MORE. Mueller’s probe includes exploring whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.