Republican supporters of President Donald Trump in Congress filed doomed articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday night in a desperate attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.
"With Attorney General Sessions' recusal, Rod Rosenstein has been in charge of the Department of Justice as the agency has made every effort to obstruct legitimate attempts of congressional oversight", Meadows said in a statement, adding that it's "time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency".
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top-ranked Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said Republicans filed the resolution to give President Trump pretext to fire Rosenstein.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein in a Boston speech, saying he has the "highest confidence" in his top deputy. "No, I do not", Ryan, R-Wis., said, warning lawmakers not to be "cavalier" with impeachment while further expressing doubt that the GOP's showdown with the Department of Justice rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.
"This year's push to impeach Rosenstein is about as likely to succeed as a campaign to make Roseanne Barr the next head of the NAACP".
The resolution on its own does not mean that the House is on the verge of voting to impeach the deputy attorney general, and conservative House members agreed Thursday morning to holding off on a vote to impeach Rosenstein until after the August recess.
The impeachment articles stated that Rosenstein refused to appoint a second special counsel to investigate the surveillance of Carter Page.More news: Administration releases top-secret application to wiretap Trump campaign adviser
Rosenstein's antagonists, however, led by Republicans Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of OH, have vowed that they will continue to pursue the effort and keep up their campaign against Rosenstein and the Justice Department, which they argue are stonewalling requests for information about the 2016 elections investigations. If the department does not comply during the legislative break, Republicans may move to hold Rosenstein in contempt instead of voting to impeach him.
It is also expected to force key Republican leaders to choose sides after many of them have sought to distance themselves from the controversial President's moves to protect himself.
"Impeachment is a punishment, it's not a remedy", House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy said shortly before Meadows introduced the resolution.
Rosenstein told lawmakers in June that he and the Justice Department are doing their best to provide the information sought by Congress.
The Department of Justice has already handed over about 880,000 documents to Congress, but Meadows and his conservative allies are seeking more.
House Republicans have criticized Rosenstein for not being responsive enough as they have requested documents related to the Russian Federation investigation as well as a closed investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton's emails. Gowdy said after the meeting that he was pleased with the department's efforts. Meadows said after that meeting that there was still "frustration" with how Justice has handled the oversight requests. That includes four Trump campaign advisers.
It is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for lawmakers to demand documents that are part of an ongoing criminal investigation.