Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein injected some much needed levity into the proceedings Thursday morning on Capitol Hill, whether he intended it or not. He and FBI Director Christopher Wray were questioned about their response to the Inspector General Michael Horowitz‘s report during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Rosenstein was grilled by Freedom Caucus co-founder and House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) about his reported subpoena threats against House Intelligence Committee members.
The Deputy AG began by denying those reports. “Media reports are mistaken,” he said.
“Did you threaten to subpoena their calls and emails?” Rep. Jordan asked him again.
“No, sir, and there’s no way to subpoena phone calls,” Rosenstein replied, much to the delight of those in the room laughing at Jordan’s expense.
It was a moment of humor during an otherwise contentious exchange, where Jordan repeatedly accused Rosenstein of hiding information and failing to respond to House requests for information. Rosenstein insisted that this is not the case and that he has not been hiding anything. It was one of several heated moments during the hearing.
In prepared remarks, Rosenstein said that “Federal Bureau of Investigation employees deviated from important principles in 2016 and 2017.”
“Everyone knew about some of the departures when they occurred – such as discussing criminal investigations and encroaching on prosecutorial decisions. We learned about others through an internal investigation – such as leaking to the news media and exhibiting political bias,” he added. “We need to correct errors, hold wrongdoers accountable, and deter future violations.”
He gave advice to Department of Justice employees in light of the IG report findings.
“faithfully pursue the Department’s law enforcement mission and the Administration’s goals in a manner consistent with laws, regulations, policies, and principles. Be prepared to face criticism. That is part of the job. But ignore the tyranny of the news cycle,” he said. “Stick to the rule of law, and make honest decisions that will withstand fair and objective review.”
[Image via CNN screengrab]
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