House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein

House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein
© Greg Nash

The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is threatening to subpoena Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump steps up attacks on McCain Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Graham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks MORE if he doesn't comply with a request for an interview with the panel.

Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.), who is leading a joint investigation with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said Saturday that Rosenstein must give a “transcribed interview on the record” or the No. 2 Justice Department official will be subpoenaed.

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“It is essential that we talk to him — he knows that,” Goodlatte told Fox News. “He has not agreed to come for a transcribed interview on the record. He needs to do that, and if he does not agree to do that very soon, I will issue a subpoena for him to appear.”

Goodlatte joins other conservative House members who want to grill Rosenstein over a report that he had considered wearing a wire to record President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump mocks wind power: 'When the wind doesn't blow, just turn off the television' Pentagon investigator probing whether acting chief boosted former employer Boeing Trump blasts McCain, bemoans not getting 'thank you' for funeral MORESome of those lawmakers began pressing for action after a meeting with Rosenstein fell through last week.

“If it takes a subpoena, that's exactly what should happen,” Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanJordan, Meadows backed by new ads from pro-Trump group: report Jordan jokes that sport coats inhibit him during heated hearings Attorney previously in contact with Cohen pushes back on pardon narrative to CNN MORE (R-Ohio), a House Freedom Caucus member, told Fox News on Sunday.

House Republicans rushed to set up an interview with Rosenstein last month, shortly after The New York Times published a bombshell report that said the deputy attorney general had spoken to other officials about wearing a wire to record Trump after he fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump says public can see Mueller report Anderson Cooper blasts Trump over McCain attacks: 'He's punching a person who is dead' Clyburn: Trump and family 'greatest threats to democracy' in lifetime MORE last May.

The story also said Rosenstein had discussed the possibility of Cabinet officials invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office last year.

“We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation," Jordan said Sunday. "But specifically, the statement that it's alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment."

Rosenstein and the DOJ have fiercely disputed the Times report, claiming the comments were made in jest. Jordan, however, noted that former FBI general counsel James Baker indicated to the GOP House lawmakers earlier this month that he believed Rosenstein was serious about his wiretap remarks.

“When he says that he believed Rod Rosenstein was serious about this alleged statement about recording the president, you got to take that with the weight that it comes with, because it's the FBI chief counsel,” Jordan added.

The scrutiny over Rosenstein's wiretap remarks has renewed Republican calls for a second investigation into alleged misconduct at the Justice Department.

"The head of the FBI, acting Director Andy McCabe, and the head of the Department of Justice with respect to the Russia investigation, Rod Rosenstein, in direct conflict with one another, each accusing the other of not telling the truth with regard to whether or not someone wanted to record the president of the United States," Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeCongress should take action to stop unfair taxation of the digital economy House panel approves controversial changes to Violence Against Women Act Former Texas GOP Rep. Ralph Hall dead at 95 MORE (R-Texas), a member on the Judiciary Committee, told Fox News on Sunday.

"That's why we have special counsel provisions. ... There should be a special counsel, so that we can get answers to these questions," Ratcliffe continued.

Rosenstein, who has frequently been targeted by Trump allies on Capitol Hill, has been overseeing special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s Russia probe since Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Juan Williams: Don't rule out impeaching Trump O'Rourke on impeachment: 2020 vote may be best way to 'resolve' Trump MORE recused himself from the matter.