Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused to answer questions Wednesday about whether President Trump had contacted him to urge an action in a pending investigation.
Rosenstein would only say that he had not “received any improper orders” from Trump.
“I’m not going to be talking about particular communications I may have, which are appropriate communications with the White House,” Rosenstein told Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Johnson challenged Rosenstein on what legal basis he was claiming in refusing to answer his question about whether Trump had encouraged him to take an action in an investigation.
“This is not a partisan issue,” Rosenstein said. “I worked on an investigation where the previous President encouraged the Department to do an expeditious investigation. So the question for me is are we or are we not appropriately making an independent determination regardless of who comments on it.
Johnson needled him further about his refusal to answer the question.
“I’ve told you, Congressman, I have not received any improper orders and I’m simply not going to talk about communications,” Rosenstein said. “I think in every administration, senior law enforcement officers have to be able to communicate with the President and his officials about appropriate matters within their responsibility and not comment on it.”