Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has reportedly agreed to meet privately with lawmakers to answer questions over allegations that he wanted to wiretap President Donald Trump last year.
What’s the situation?
Last week, the New York Times published an anonymously sourced story that Rosenstein allegedly proposed secretly recording the president and invoking the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office.
While some dismissed the claims, citing reports from sources that Rosenstein was joking when he made the purported comments, the House Judiciary Committee has called the deputy AG to Capitol Hill to give some explanation.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) tweeted out early Friday, “Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed door hearing with our panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on ‘wiring’ POTUS — as well as other inconsistent statements. If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him.”
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ABC News reported that Rosenstein agreed to the meeting when House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) called him Thursday evening.
According to the Washington Post, the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been jointly investigating the Justice Department’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and inquiries into President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia.
A spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told the Post on Friday morning that the Judiciary Committee is “calling the shots,” adding, “We support the Judiciary chairman.”
Rosenstein — who is responsible for oversight of the ongoing Mueller investigation — has adamantly denied the claims made by the Times, calling their reporting “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
The story prompted a firestorm over speculation that Rosenstein would either resign or be fired by President Trump.
While the president is set to meet with his deputy AG next week, Trump said this week, “I would much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein. He said he did not say it. He said he does not believe that. He said he has a lot of respect for me, and he was very nice, and we’ll see.”
The president reiterated, “My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up.”
Meadows affirmed Trump’s position to Time.
“Not wanting to fire Rod Rosenstein is consistent with what I have understood for weeks, not just days,” Meadows said.