House Republican group files impeachment resolution against Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

House Republican group files impeachment resolution against Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein
Image: CSPAN-3 video screen grab

The resolution was filed by 11 House Republicans on Wednesday evening, 25 July 2018.  There is no comprehensive list of the sponsors in news reporting yet, but Mark Meadows (NC) and Jim Jordan (OH) are the lead sponsors.  Andy Biggs (AZ) has already registered support on Twitter.

There may be less to this than meets the eye, as the August recess is to start on Thursday (26 July).  There is no time for the House to do more than refer the resolution to committee.  At the moment, it appears that hasn’t been done yet.

So Rosenstein is in no danger of being faced with an impeachment vote before the House reconvenes right after Labor Day.

Fox assumes – as everyone will – that the resolution will go to the House Judiciary Committee.  That may well be the case; the impeachment actions for Clinton and Nixon (who, we must note, were presidents, not subordinate appointees) were both handled by the Judiciary Committee.  The brief against Rosenstein relates to his failures to respond to the Judiciary Committee.   So although there is no prescription on which committee will consider articles of impeachment, the committee that finds fault with Rosenstein’s behavior towards it, which also happens to be the Judiciary Committee, would seem to be the likely suspect.  (If Paul Ryan wants it especially slow-rolled, he may find a way to refer it to another committee.)

Worth noting: articles of impeachment were drawn up for Rosenstein months ago.  They’ve been added to since.  It took quite a while for an impeachment action to actually be filed.

The articles of impeachment, embedded at the top link (or here in the PDF version), provide a reminder that Rosenstein has been stonewalling the subpoena for documents from the House Judiciary Committee since 22 March 2018.  The House is in no hurry on this (and in the sense of giving Rosenstein plenty of time to comply in good faith, can be said to have shown commendable patience).

In fact, the timing looks political, which is to be expected.  Both sides of the aisle do the same things.  The resolution is filed just in time for the August recess, which will be a talking point in the congressmen’s home districts.  But the timing also means nothing can be done before September – and that means the process can be time-calibrated to either remain moot during the final weeks before the general election, or score political points for Republicans and/or against Democrats.  The month-plus delay for the August recess also gives Rosenstein time to maneuver towards a Plan B.

It may be a bit easier for me than for some to view this dispassionately.  I don’t think going straight to impeachment is the best approach.  I’d advocate for holding Rosenstein in contempt first (which I would have done months ago), which would (a) bolster the case for impeachment, and (b) give Trump a ready basis for firing Rosenstein himself.

We’ll see where it goes, if anywhere.  Some senators are derisive.

“This Senate Republican does not agree,” Jeff Flake of Arizona tweeted in response to the resolution being introduced.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina earlier Wednesday dismissed the potential for a Rosenstein impeachment, saying it’s “more likely” he’d be “in the NBA playing basketball.”

If nothing else, this should be a lesson in the utility, or lack thereof, in congressional accountability processes under today’s conditions.

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer

J.E. Dyer is a retired Naval Intelligence officer who lives in Southern California, blogging as The Optimistic Conservative for domestic tranquility and world peace. Her articles have appeared at Hot Air, Commentary’s Contentions, Patheos, The Daily Caller, The Jewish Press, and The Weekly Standard.


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