Updated 1:05 p.m. | House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte said Friday his committee had invited Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a private meeting “in the coming weeks.”
“There are many questions we have for Mr. Rosenstein, including questions about allegations made against him in a recent news article. We need to get to the bottom of these very serious claims,” Goodlatte said.
The committee is working on details of the meeting with the Justice Department, Goodlatte said.
Earlier Friday, Rep. Mark Meadows and other House conservatives said they had worked out a deal with leadership to call Rosenstein to testify behind closed doors about his reported plan that the Justice Department secretly record President Donald Trump and invoke the 25th Amendment to oust him from the Oval Office.
“Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed door hearing with our panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on ‘wiring’ POTUS,” Meadows, the chairman of the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, tweeted Friday.
Republicans will want to probe Rosenstein on “other inconsistent statements” as well, Meadows indicated in his tweet.
If Rosenstein fails to appear before the joint Judiciary and Oversight panel, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia will subpoena him, Meadows wrote.
Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed door hearing with our panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on “wiring” POTUS–as well as other inconsistent statements.
If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him.
Trump has spoken with Rosenstein at least twice over the phone this week and indicated he would “prefer” not to fire the deputy AG, who denied he ever floated monitoring the president’s conversations.
“We’ve had a good talk,” Trump said Wednesday of his conversation with Rosenstein this week. “He said he has a lot of respect for me, and he was very nice.”
Trump on Wednesday postponed his planned meeting with Rosenstein until next week.
Democrats have said Rosenstein’s ouster would amount to a constitutional crisis since the deputy attorney general is overseeing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s possible ties to Russia and potential obstruction of that probe by the president.
Meadows, Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan of Ohio, and other conservatives on the joint panel want to plow ahead with their plans to hear from Rosenstein regardless of whether Trump decides he trusts the deputy AG or jettisons him from the department.
“That’s a White House decision on what his status is,” Jordan said of Rosenstein, who reportedly verbally offered White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly his resignation earlier this week because he believed Trump was prepared to fire him.
“In my humble opinion, you can’t have the guy who’s running the Justice Department talking about recording the commander in chief, even if it’s done in a joking, sarcastic manner,” Jordan said. “If [Rosenstein did say such things] and the president is satisfied that it’s still OK, and keeps him, that’s fine — that’s the White House’s call. But we should be able to ask questions about what took place in that meeting.”
Goodlatte issued a subpoena Thursday ordering the DOJ to hand over memorandums drafted by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about the meetings in which Rosenstein allegedly made the comments about bugging Trump.
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