Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein’s interview with Trump’s congressional allies postponed indefinitely
WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein’s interview with a joint House panel reviewing the Justice Department investigation of President Trump’s alleged Russia ties will not take place this week as expected, according to congressional aides involved with the planning.
The House Judiciary and Oversight and Government reform committees were expected to speak with Rosenstein behind closed doors Thursday as part of their probe into federal law enforcement’s conduct during the investigations of Trump’s campaign and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server. But a dispute over the interview’s terms prevented the committees and the Justice Department from reaching a deal to hold the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.
The delay means Rosenstein may not appear on Capitol Hill for an interview until after next month’s election, potentially exposing him to a subpoena. The House Judiciary Committee has frequently used subpoenas in this probe to compel witness testimony and the production of Justice Department documents.
‘‘We have many questions for Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and expect answers to those questions,’’ a House Judiciary Committee aide said. ‘‘There is not at this time a confirmed date for a potential meeting.’’
Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, has been a target of Trump’s Republican allies on the joint panel. They’ve accused the Justice Department of intentionally slow-walking efforts to produce documents for the panel’s investigation. That dispute exploded in a public faceoff over the summer, during which Republican lawmakers berated Rosenstein and urged him to wind down the special counsel probe, which is led by Robert Mueller.
Lawmakers’ interest in bringing Rosenstein back to Capitol Hill followed publication of a New York Times report indicating the deputy attorney general had suggested secretly recording Trump and invoking a constitutional amendment to remove the president from office. Rosenstein has disputed the report, though he offered to submit his resignation in its wake.
On Monday, Trump said he had no plans to remove Rosenstein.
The House Judiciary Committee has already subpoenaed memos drafted by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe that say Rosenstein suggested recording the president.