Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is clamping down on calls in the GOP ranks to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that he will not support an effort by his fellow conservatives to impeach the deputy attorney general. The former federal prosecutor said that despite his differences with Rosenstein, he sees no reason to fire him.
“No. For what? Impeach him for what? No,” he said. “I’ve had my differences with Rod Rosenstein. I talk to him quite often privately, which again is a lot more constructive than the public hearings we have.”
“He can fire him with a tweet”
Gowdy grilled Rosenstein at a public hearing last month, even telling him to “finish the hell up” with his investigation into collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia.
Gowdy’s call for order also comes after another testy public hearing on Thursday, when Gowdy and other Republicans questioned disgraced FBI agent Peter Strzok. The hearing collapsed into chaos along partisan lines, with Democrats defending Strzok and Republicans grilling him relentlessly.
Gowdy laced into Strzok at the hearing, accusing him of bias and telling the agent, “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate,” referring to an objection that Strzok had made.
He later expressed regret in the CBS interview over holding these public hearings, which he compared to a “circus.” Gowdy further noted that Rosenstein is a Trump appointee, and said that he’s leaving the ball in President Trump’s court.
“He’s a Trump appointee. So is [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions. So is [FBI Director] Chris Wray,” Gowdy said. “If President Trump is dissatisfied with Rod Rosenstein, he can fire him with a tweet.”
No “movement” to impeach
Gowdy added in the Sunday interview that he hasn’t gotten the impression there is a broad movement in the House to impeach Rosenstein.
“I’m not convinced there is a movement,” he said. “I read about it in Politico and sometimes their sources are better than mine. But I’m not part of that.”
Politico reported that members of the House Freedom Caucus, including Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) are leading the charge, and reportedly preparing to go forward with impeachment filings any day now. Republican lawmakers have long accused the Justice Department of leading a biased investigation and have complained that Rosenstein is slow-going the release of documents related to their own probe into the alleged bias.
But Gowdy has often broken with the partisan voices in the party when it comes to the Russia investigation, pushing back against calls to fire both Rosenstein and Robert Mueller, who Rosenstein appointed to lead the investigation into collusion. Gowdy reiterated in Sunday’s interview that he doesn’t believe the Russia probe is a “witch hunt,” contrary to frequent complaints by Trump that he is being unfairly targeted by Mueller.
Rosenstein announced Friday that Mueller had indicted 12 Russians for hacking the Democrats’ servers during the presidential election.