The House Judiciary Committee approved for the first time a resolution Tuesday demanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein turn over all requested documents regarding the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation during the presidential election after seven days or face possible impeachment or contempt.
The decision to move forward with the resolution came after a year of battles with the Justice Department and FBI to turn over requested documents. The committee voted on party lines 15-11 to pass the resolution directing Rosenstein to comply within the next seven days or face the consequences.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who has been one of the lawmakers at the frontlines of the committee’s investigation, said the resolution is the result of the frustration felt among lawmakers conducting oversight. He noted that it will be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether or not to take it to the full House for a vote.
“If they don’t comply with the resolution they know the remedies the House has, contempt and impeachment,” said Jordan.
“If we don’t get that information entitled to us, everybody knows that we’ll do what we have to do to get it done.”
Jordan and Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., were the authors of the resolution. Both members have criticized Rosenstein and the FBI for failing to deliver documents. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, has also been fighting the Justice Department for documents and has threatened as well to hold Rosenstein in contempt or impeachment if they are not produced.
U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC)
The resolution does not include a penalty but Jordan noted that the lawmakers are prepared to file impeachment or contempt against Rosenstein. The resolution is expected to sit on the House floor until members return from their break after the next week.
Rosenstein, who is known for his quick temper with lawmakers during negotiations, has stonewalled numerous members of Congress questioning the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion between President Trump’s campaign and the Russians.
On Thursday, Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray are expected to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, where they will be asked questions regarding their failure to comply with the oversight committees.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said last week they are not taking contempt charges off the table. He told reporters on Tuesday “we do expect full compliance very, very soon, and if we do not get that then we will keep every single option available to us.”