House Judiciary Dems kill amendment for Rod Rosenstein subpoena – Washington Examiner
House Judiciary Committee Democrats rejected an amendment Thursday to prepare a subpoena for Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed and oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller.
The amendment was proposed by Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., to be wrapped into a resolution to approve a tentative subpoena for acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker in the event that Whitaker fails to answer the panel’s questions including those surrounding his conversations with President Trump about Mueller’s Russia investigation.
“If you’re going to go through with this, add Mr. Rosenstein’s name so we can ask him some important questions that the American people need to know,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, argued during a markup of the resolution.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., ruled the proposed amendment was not germane to the resolution and an appeal was tabled by a margin of 21-13.
The resolution to have a subpoena set for Whitaker was later approved on party lines.
Whitaker was named acting attorney general in November after Trump forced out former Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, paving the way for Rosenstein to oversee the investigation for roughly 15 months.
Whitaker has not recused himself from the investigation and has been overseeing it for the past two months. Whitaker’s oversight of the investigation has attracted the scrutiny of Democrats, who are interested to learn why he did not recuse himself.
The House Judiciary Committee approved to prepare a subpoena for Whitaker just in case, as Nadler put it, he fails to answer “legitimate questions” raised by the committee when he appears before them Friday.
Nadler provided Whitaker with the questions in advance so he could coordinate with the White House on whether there were areas that Trump wanted to invoke executive privilege. But Whitaker never replied.
In response to the subpoena threat, the Justice Department announced Whitaker would not appear unless he were certain that he wouldn’t be subpoenaed for refusing to answer questions.
“We seek a written assurance from your office that the committee will not issue a subpoena to the acting attorney general on or before Feb. 8, and that the committee will engage in good-faith negotiations with the department before issuing such a subpoena,” the Justice Department wrote in a letter to Nadler.
Whitaker is poised to leave his acting role very soon as Trump’s attorney general nominee, William Barr, is expected to be confirmed by the Senate by next week.
Rosenstein may face other opportunities to answer questions from lawmakers in the future, as Nadler noted.