(Bloomberg) -- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s overseeing the Russia investigation, dismissed those trying to intimidate him after a group of House Republicans drafted articles of impeachment against him.
“There are people who have been making threats, privately and publicly, against me for quite some time,” Rosenstein said at a Law Day event Tuesday at the Newseum in Washington. “I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted. We’re going to do what’s required by the rule of law.”
"Any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job," he said.
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina responded Tuesday that if Rosenstein believes being asked "to do his job is ‘extortion,’" then he "should step aside and allow us to find a new deputy attorney general -- preferably one who is interested in transparency."
Rosenstein has been under withering attack by some House Republicans and President Donald Trump for his role in overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s federal criminal investigation into whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election and whether the president sought to obstruct the inquiry.
Meadows and some other members of the conservative Freedom Caucus have drafted a version of articles of impeachment. Meadows is one of Trump’s closest allies in Congress and talks to him by phone several times a week.
The draft cites Rosenstein’s failure to turn over internal Justice Department documents the Republicans have demanded about the origin of the Trump investigation, as well as the FBI’s probe into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, according to a person familiar with the document. The Washington Post reported earlier on the document.
“They can’t even resist leaking their own draft," Rosenstein said. He said the department isn’t going to open its doors and allow Congress to "rummage through" files that might result in a violation of privacy or law.
“The way we operate in the Department of Justice is, if we’re going to accuse somebody of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, credible witnesses, we have to be prepared to prove our case in court and we have to affix our signature to the charging document," Rosenstein said.
Meadows shot back, "The deputy attorney general’s response to the draft articles of impeachment is reminiscent of our interactions with him over the past few months: a lot of rhetoric with little facts."
"Rosenstein’s stonewalling of this investigation has already embarrassed the Department of Justice and the rule of law," Meadows said in the statement.
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