Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein found himself cornered by House Republicans on Tuesday when the Freedom Caucus announced that they were drafting articles of impeachment against him stemming from his refusal to cooperate with their requests. Rosenstein decided that, instead of cooperating with ELECTED government officials (quite unlike himself), he would get up on his high horse and, knowing the mainstream media would have his back, accuse the Republicans of trying to “extort” the Justice Department.
“There have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted,” Rosenstein said. “I just don’t have anything to say about documents like that that nobody has the courage to put their name on and they leak in that way.”
Well, there’s at least one Republican who has plenty of courage to stand up to Rosenstein and that’s Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina. Asked to respond to Rosenstein’s tantrum, Meadows said that he wasn’t interested in impeachment nearly as much as he was in the Justice Department’s cooperation with an ongoing House inquiry.
“There is really nothing to comment on there, but just give me the documents. The bottom line is, he needs to give me the documents,” Meadows said. “I have one goal in mind, and that is not somebody’s job or the termination of somebody’s job, it is getting the documents and making sure we can do proper oversight.”
But Rosenstein doesn’t want to cooperate with Republicans. He doesn’t want to help them (and the country) understand why the Obama DOJ misled a FISA court while trying to put an American citizen under foreign surveillance. He doesn’t want them to know why he signed off on repeated renewals of that same application. He doesn’t want them to figure out to what extent the Justice Department relied on phony Clinton propaganda to carry out an illegal investigation into their political opponents. And why doesn’t he want them to have all of that information?
In the same article from The Hill that quotes Meadows, they found someone to spell it out:
“With a guy like Rosenstein, you can’t underestimate the deep connection that many career — not all — but many career Justice Department officials have to the department,” said Steven Cash, a lawyer at Day Pitney. “It defines their self image as participating in ensuring the rule of law in a way you often don’t see in other departments — they are very, very proud of their association with the department, its traditions, history and independence.”
See, this was meant as a defense of Rosenstein – he’s so honorable and he’s a man of integrity and blah blah blah – but it shows you what’s really going on here. These guys know that the DOJ went way off the territory in the closing months of 2016, and now they’re circling the wagons to protect themselves and the institution they hold so dear.
What they don’t get is that the more they double down and obfuscate Congress, the more the American people lose faith in the very institution they’re trying to protect.