Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced the latest batch of indictments this week connected to an ongoing FBI special counsel probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
At the same time, some Republicans on Capitol Hill were getting ready to take the next steps needed to begin the impeachment process against him, as reported by Politico.
President Donald Trump and some of his closest allies in Congress have routinely attempted to portray Roseinstein and the federal Russia investigation as tainted by bias.
Some conservatives have mentioned impeachment as a remedy for their complaints that the deputy attorney general has not acted swiftly enough in responding to their demands.
Among their grievances is the allegation that Rosenstein, who took over the probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, was slow to investigate claims of bias among agents handling the Russia probe.
The Justice Department has previously maintained that it is complying with congressional requests and many Democrats see the GOP opposition as an effort to discount the forthcoming report by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Shortly after a dozen Russian spies were indicted on Friday on charges of widespread hacking ahead of the 2016 election, Roseinstein’s critics in Congress were quick to respond.
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., had a copy of the impeachment document with him as lawmakers gathered for a session the same day those indictments were announced.
According to a spokesperson, the congressman did not file the document on Friday. Ben Williamson did not indicate, however, whether Meadows plans to pursue the process in coming days.
For his part, Roseinstein stressed the importance of allowing the FBI to conclude its probe free from speculation and leaks from individuals without direct knowledge of the evidence.
“We do not try cases on television or in congressional hearings,” he said on Friday.
His remarks came just one day after a handful of GOP lawmakers grilled FBI employee Peter Strzok during a contentious hearing including the House oversight and judiciary committees.
Rosenstein went on to caution that the majority of “anonymous leaks are not from the government officials who are actually conducting these investigations.”
Though he has not spoken publicly about the investigation often, he once again reiterated his pledge that the FBI is conducting its investigation with integrity.
“We follow the rule of law, which means that we follow procedures, and we reserve judgment,” Rosenstein said. “We complete our investigations and we evaluate all of the relevant evidence before we reach any conclusion.”
The indictments came just days before Trump is set to sit down with Russian president Vladimir Putin for a meeting in Finland.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., was among the leaders in his party to cite the importance of the Russia probe in light of the latest information.
The Rosenstein-Mueller investigation is making fast work of finding criminal activity: 35 indictments, five guilty pleas and one prison sentence in a little more than a year. #DefendDemocracy
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) July 14, 2018
The Senate minority leader wrote that the “investigation is making fast work of finding criminal activity.”
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