Gowdy rips Rosenstein on Russia probe: ‘Finish it the hell up’
Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy tore into Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday over the long-running Russia collusion probe — telling the Justice Department at a public hearing to “finish it the inferno up because this country is being torn apart.”
Gowdy’s excoriation recognized a stunning time at the already-tense House Judiciary Committee hearing, amid a months-long duel between congressional Republican and the Department of Justice over its handled in both the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton email investigation.
At the hearing, Gowdy spoke to frustration over the protracted Russia investigation that Rosenstein oversees, is recommended that despite a host of charges against Trump-tied figures, police investigations has not found evidence of presidential immorality.
“We’ve encountered the bias, we need to see the evidence presented, ” Gowdy replied. If you have evidence of wrongdoing by any member of the Trump campaign, present it to the damn grand jury. If “youve had” evidence that this president acted inappropriately, present it to the American people.”
“Whatever you got, finish it the inferno up, because this country is being torn apart, ” he supposed.
Rosenstein, meanwhile, was grilled repeatedly Thursday by House Republicans over everything from his department’s role in Trump campaign surveillance to the damning watchdog report on FBI conduct during the Clinton email probe.
Republicans have quoted the most recent DOJ inspector general’s report which blamed its further consideration of the Clinton probe and divulged anti-Trump text from FBI agent Peter Strzok and others. Republicans have also been hounding the DOJ to create documents related to the Russia investigation — petitions they say have been stonewalled by the agency.
The top DOJ official, who oversees the special counsel’s Russia probe, was asked to defuse tensions- vowing to hold culprits accountable following the completion of the inspector general report and protecting the answers to congressional requests for documents related to the Russia investigation.
“As with most things in Washington, the real work is not done on television and it is not all done by me, ” Rosenstein told. “Trump administration officials are encountering and talking to your staffs every day to accommodate requests and produce relevant information to this committee, other committees and several Senate committees.”
Yet as the hearing was ongoing, the House of Representatives was debating a non-binding solving insisting the Justice Department comply with House committee subpoenas for documents.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, cited that looming vote as he personally challenged Rosenstein over his compliance.
“Why are you keeping information from Congress? ” Jordan questioned.
“It is not accurate, sir, ” Rosenstein said.
“We have caught you hiding information, ” Jordan countered.
Rosenstein insisted his crew was responding to their requests.
Rosenstein also said “we’re not denying anything, ” in response to questions by committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla ., over the most recent text between FBI agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page. The bombshell text in the IG report testified Strzok vowing to “stop” the election of President Trump.
Rosenstein likewise denied allegations from Jordan that he had Strzok avoid answering certain questions during a closed-door appearing before the meetings of the committee a period earlier.
Further, he said he could not discuss classified information in an open specify when asked what the DOJ and FBI did to surveil the Trump campaign, including the reported run of an informant apparently in contact with members of that campaign in 2016.
Rosenstein further rebuffed GOP propositions that he recuse himself from the Russia probe, repeatedly denied allegations firstly reported by Fox News that he formerly threatened to subpoena GOP committee members and declined to comment about his persona in approving a surveillance application for a Trump adviser. Rosenstein would not say whether he spoke the application, but emphasized he’s “confident” about his conduct and sees it as “highly, highly unlikely” that the inspector general would find immorality on his part as part of an ongoing review.
Rosenstein, meanwhile, discussed the DOJ inspector general findings on the Clinton email case, supposing “today is not a happy occasion.”
Rosenstein said it demonstrated some FBI officials “deviated from important principles.”
“Everyone knew about some of those deviations as they passed. We learned about others through the internal investigation, such as leaking to the news media, and political bias, ” Rosenstein announced. “We need to correct faults, hold delinquents accountable, and deter future violations.”
Rosenstein said that the Justice Department has already implemented “mandatory annual training” to address the concerns.
Rosenstein and Wray have been criticized for months by Republicans on Capitol Hill who have suggested that the agencies are stonewalling congressional committees’ requests for documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation. Committees have requested documents related to including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants issued to surveil former Trump campaign associate Carter Page and on the FBI’s use of a confidential human generator in the Trump campaign–also known as an FBI informant.
Last week, the Justice Department afforded House Republican some of the documents they sought relating to such Russia investigation and the Hillary Clinton email probe–after lawmakers threatened to hold officials in contempt of Congress for stonewalling requests.
The House Judiciary Committee and House Intelligence Committee had requested more than thousands and thousands of documents issued for the FBI and DOJ related to the Clinton investigation and surveillance of members of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential campaign. While some documents had been produced, the meetings of the committee have been pushing the DOJ for months to fully comply with their subpoenas.