House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) plans to subpoena Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for copies of the memos drafted by ousted FBI James Comey about his interactions with President Donald Trump.
Goodlatte’s plans were first reported by The Hill Wednesday evening, and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking committee, later confirmed in a statement that Goodlatte informed him of the plans for a subpoena on Wednesday.
“Today, Chairman Goodlatte informed me that he intends to issue a subpoena to the Department of Justice—in this case, to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—for former FBI Director James Comey’s memoranda,” Nadler said in a statement. “Although the Majority has shown little or no interest in conducting meaningful oversight of the Trump Administration so far, no matter what the Chairman’s motivations are today, I hope that we will now have an opportunity to review some of the evidence surrounding President Trump’s dismissal of Mr. Comey.”
Goodlatte, along with two other Republican chairmen in the House, sent a letter to Rosenstein last week asking for the memos by Monday, April 16. Rosenstein asked the committee leaders on Monday for more time to assess whether the Justice Department can share the memos given that they are evidence in an ongoing investigation. The committee leaders agreed to give Rosenstein a few more days.
In his statement Wednesday night, Nadler warned that the planned subpoena of Rosenstein may be another effort by House Republicans to undermine the Russia probe by hurting Rosenstein.
“If House Republicans refuse any accommodation short of the Department of Justice handing over custody of these documents—which it cannot do—I fear the Majority will have manufactured an excuse to hold the Deputy Attorney General in contempt of Congress. If they succeed in tarnishing the Deputy Attorney General, perhaps they will have given President Trump the pretext he has sought to replace Mr. Rosenstein with someone willing to do his bidding and end the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Nadler said in the statement.
Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) also met with Rosenstein about Republican document requests on Monday, as the Washington Post reported Wednesday night. They warned him that he could face impeachment proceedings or an effort to hold him in contempt of Congress if he does not satisfy requests for documents related to Justice Department officials conduct in the Russia probe and Hillary Clinton email probe, according to the Washington Post.