WASHINGTON — House Republicans have decided to call deputy attorney general Rod J. Rosenstein back to Capitol Hill and subpoena him if he doesn’t show, according to Representative Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, who tweeted early Friday that there was an agreement with GOP leadership for the plan.
‘‘Leadership has agreed to call Rod J. Rosenstein before Congress . . . so he can explain his alleged comment on ‘wiring’ POTUS — as well as other inconsistent statements,’’ Meadows wrote, referring to President Trump. ‘‘If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him.’’
Representatives of House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, of Wisconsin, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, of Virginia, and House Oversight and Government Reform Committee chairman Trey Gowdy, of South Carolina, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The Judiciary, and Oversight and Government Reform committees have been conducting a joint probe into the FBI’s and Justice Department’s conduct during their investigations into Trump’s alleged Russia ties and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server.
Memos kept by former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe said that Rosenstein suggested secretly recording the president, potentially as part of a plan to remove him from office under the 25th amendment. Rosenstein has vehemently denied he ever suggested anything of the kind, but offered to resign his post in the wake of the reports. He is expected to meet with Trump next week to discuss the matter.
The reports that Rosenstein suggested taping Trump touched off a firestorm from conservative Republicans, who had been pummeling the deputy attorney general to turn over documents that they have requested as part of a probe scrutinizing the Justice Department and FBI’s conduct during their investigations of Trump and Clinton. Over the summer, those Republicans attempted to secure a vote on a resolution to impeach Rosenstein, but in recent weeks, their crusade against the deputy attorney general lost the backing of top GOP officials, who felt that Rosenstein’s DOJ was complying with the requests.
But in recent days, top GOP officials have been backing conservative Republicans’ demands for more information. On Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McCabe’s memos, along with several documents related to the FBI’s application to conduct surveillance on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, and documents about the Justice Department’s Russia probe that had already been shared with the Gang of Eight, a bipartisan group of congressional and intelligence committee leaders who receive the most sensitive intelligence briefings.