Trump-boosting Republicans on Tuesday demanded testimony from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in light of reports that he proposed secretly recording and removing President Trump from office.
The ultraconservative Freedom House Caucus is mainly behind efforts to have Rosenstein testify about whether he ever discussed secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to unseat him on the basis that he’s unfit to serve, as reported by multiple outlets last week.
“You can’t have the number two official at the Department of Justice making comments about wiring the President and not address it,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the caucus. “Rod Rosenstein must come before Congress this week, under oath, and tell the truth about his alleged statements.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to say whether Rosenstein will testify but revealed he had received no invitation to do so as of late Tuesday.
Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, has vehemently denied ever making such remarks but reportedly showed up at the White House on Monday expecting to be fired or hand in his resignation.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), another member of the Freedom House Caucus, suggested impeaching Rosenstein should he refuse to testify.
“I worry that leadership wants to send us home at the end of the week, tell us to go campaign for the midterms, and that we won’t really get these answers,” Gaetz tweeted. “Rosenstein’s impeachment can be brought up for a vote by any members of Congress at this point.”
Trump, who’s in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, has not said whether he plans to axe Rosenstein, but the two men are sitting down at the White House on Thursday and members of Congress are worried the beleaguered deputy attorney general could get the boot.
Should Rosenstein be sent on his way, a person familiar with the discussions told the Daily News that both Republicans and Democrats support swiftly issuing an order mandating the Justice Department to preserve all Rosenstein records as well as all materials relating to the Mueller investigation.
“There’s enough bipartisan support on the legislative side that if there was a vote it would pass,” the source said.
Such a measure could prevent Trump from trying to shut down the Mueller probe.
However, Republican leaders have not publicly voiced support for protecting Mueller’s investigation, and the GOP has previously struck down Democratic measures to shield the special counsel from presidential action.