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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 DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says DOJ to probe Trump-era subpoenas of lawmaker records Democrats demand Barr, Sessions testify on Apple data subpoenas MORE fiercely defended his deputy Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinDemocrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies Protect the police or the First Amendment? Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' 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 MeadowsBiden's no-drama White House chief Ex-Trump aide Meadows pushed DOJ to probe multiple election theories: report Trump working with Gingrich on policy agenda: report MORE (R-N.C.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHouse Judiciary releases McGahn testimony on Trump Democrats control the language of politics and culture — but for how long? Democrats claim vindication, GOP cries witch hunt as McGahn finally testifies 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.

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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 ClintonTrump asks Biden to give Putin his 'warmest regards' Huma Abedin announces book deal Mystery surrounds Justice's pledge on journalist records 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) MuellerSenate 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 Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE. Mueller’s probe includes exploring whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.