- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could testify before two House committees on Oct. 11, a Republican member of one of those panels said Wednesday.

Rep. Mark Meadows, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, disclosed details about the upcoming joint hearing in an interview with The Hill.

Mr. Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said members of the Judiciary and House Oversight and Government Reform committees are considering a transcribed interview in a closed-door setting but have not finalized an agreement with the Justice Department. A panel of six Democrats and six Republicans will likely oversee the hearing, according to Mr. Meadows.

The two committees are running a joint investigation into FBI and Justice Department decisions during the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election, has come under scrutiny by Republicans on those panels.

Most recently, Mr. Rosenstein has attracted their notice after a report last month in The New York Times said he had discussed secretly recording President Trump and talked about ousting him by invoking the 25th Amendment. Mr. Rosenstein has denied the report, calling it “factually incorrect.”

Mr. Meadows told The Hill that Mr. Rosenstein deserves the opportunity to explain himself.

“Even though I’ve been a strong critic, I think he has to have the ability to come before us and say what he did say or didn’t say,” the congressman said.

Some conservative lawmakers, including Mr. Meadows and Rep. Matt Gaetz, Florida Republican, have suggested they will move to impeach Mr. Rosenstein or hold him in contempt.

The New York Times story sparked speculation about Mr. Rosenstein’s future at the Justice Department. Some media outlets said Mr. Rosenstein would be fired, while others claimed he was resigning. Those predictions died down after Mr. Rosenstein had a meeting last month with White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly. Last week, Mr. Trump said his “preference” wold be to keep Mr. Rosenstein at Justice.

Mr. Meadows said he expects Mr. Rosenstein will keep his job.

“I think at this point, I know the president wants to make sure that transparency happens, but he also wants to make sure it doesn’t inadvertently look like he’s putting his hand on the scale of justice,” he told The Hill.

“Now if something comes in at this hearing that is well beyond what we’ve seen, perhaps, but I do not expect him to be fired by this president.”

Mr. Trump was scheduled to meet with Mr. Rosenstein last Thursday. The president delayed it, saying he wanted to focus on the Senate confirmation testimony for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh. It is not known if or when the meeting will take place.

In June, Mr. Rosenstein testified before both House committees after conservative lawmakers had accused him of withholding documents related to the Russia probe, a claim he has denied. He also was questioned about his role in renewing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant for Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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