House Freedom Caucus leaders Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) on Wednesday introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Suffice it to say the five articles Meadows and Jordan put together fail to make a persuasive case that Rosenstein needs to go.
Ultimately, Meadows and Jordan are looking to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign for possible collusion with Russia and related wrongdoing. Following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal, Rosenstein oversees Mueller’s investigation — and forcing him out could allow President Trump to appoint a new deputy AG who would curtail Mueller.
But House Republicans aren’t able to make that case directly. So instead, they’re looking for other excuses to go after Rosenstein. The ones they’ve managed to come up with don’t make a lot of sense.
In one of the articles of impeachment, for example, they accuse Rosenstein of misconduct related to actions that occurred in October 2017 — or roughly six months before he was actually sworn in, following his appointment by Trump.
In the articles of impeachment against Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, Republicans cite an action the DOJ took in Oct. 2016 … six months before Rosenstein was sworn in as Deputy AG in April 2017.
They're trying to impeach him for things that happened 6 mos. before he was Deputy AG. pic.twitter.com/pbnnee2Zd4
— Caroline O. (@RVAwonk) July 26, 2018
One article accuses Rosenstein of failing to recuse himself from the second special counsel’s investigation of “matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign that appear to be outside the scope of Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation.” That investigation doesn’t even exist.
Article I accuses Rosenstein of failing to recuse himself from an investigation that does not exist. pic.twitter.com/HvIsy5BD0w
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) July 26, 2018
The problems don’t end there.
One article accuses Rosenstein of making too many redactions to documents, even though such redactions are standard DOJ procedure. Another treats a House Republican conspiracy theory about the origins of the Russia investigation that has been debunked by the recently recently Carter Page FISA documents (among other public revaluations) as fact. At one point, Rosenstein’s name is misspelled.
House Republicans have been on Rosenstein’s case for months, often embarrassing themselves in the process. A House Judiciary Committee hearing featuring Rosenstein last month quickly descended into farce. Jordan provoked laughter after he revealed profound ignorance of how the DOJ works by asking Rosenstein whether he had threatened to subpoena “phone calls” made by House Intelligence Committee staffers, and Trey Gowdy (R-SC) — the same Gowdy who oversaw an investigation of Hillary Clinton that lasted more than two years — complained that Mueller needs to hurry up.
It’s unlikely that the Meadows/Jordan impeachment resolution will ever come up for a vote.