…for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to go. He
threatened to “subpoena” emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and staff on a Republican-led House committee during a tense meeting earlier this year [January], according to emails reviewed by Fox News documenting the encounter and reflecting what aides described as a “personal attack.”
In a notification to the House Office of General Counsel about the incident, the House Intelligence Committee’s then-Senior Counsel for Counterterrorism Kash Patel (now the Committee’s National Security Advisor) wrote
The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding. Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then “we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,” referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.
A second staffer corroborated the complaint:
Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. … Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to “subpoena your calls and emails” was downright chilling.
In response, DoJ said that Rosenstein
never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation.
That’s a cynically offered strawman, and its offering confirms the need for Rosenstein to go—as well as the DoJ official who offered it. Patel was not alleging a retaliatory criminal investigation, only protesting the threat of subpoena of Committee and Committee personnel correspondence in response to a threat of Contempt of Congress citation—itself necessary by the FBI’s and DoJ’s—Rosenstein’s—stonewalling of Committee document requests.
Further distraction, stonewalling, and now intimidation: Rosenstein, according to one of his own staffers, will
request that the House General counsel conduct an internal investigation of these Congressional staffers’ conduct.
For the heinous crime of insisting on the House’s oversight prerogative, Rosenstein is expected to extend his threats and intimidation effort.
Tom Dupree, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Bush the Younger’s administration, long out of government, still felt qualified to weigh in:
It’s hard to tell whether [Rosenstein] was sending a message to back off, or whether he was just trying to illustrate how invasive he considered the demands from Congress.
There’s no misunderstanding here. Rosenstein plainly was trying to intimidate the Committee members and staffers into backing off. He knows full well that Congressional oversight is, necessarily, invasive, especially given the stonewalling.
Again: Rosenstein must go.