Kirsters Baish| Republican North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows stated this week that he is holding off on his efforts to try and impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following multiple Republican leadership meetings. Meadows stated that he would instead be attempting to pursue contempt if the Department of Justice doesn’t hand over the documents that Congress has requested.
This isn’t to say that Rosenstein is safe from being slapped with impeachment charges at some point. Representative Meadows did say to reporters on Thursday that he is hoping for a contempt process rather than an impeachment process at this point.
Meadows was asked what the consequences will be if the requested documents are not received by the two House committees on time (when members of the House come back from their August recess). He answered by saying, “I think the very first order of business would be moving the House to a contempt vote.”
“I think it is our desire to have more of a contempt process, which obviously has to have a partner with the Speaker, and I think hopefully they will at least acknowledge we’ve made some reasonable concessions to give DOJ and FBI,” Meadows told a group of journalists.
Meadows, who is also the House Freedom Caucus chairman and a harsh critic of the Justice Department, has explained that the idea to put off Rosenstein’s impeachment came after he had “very good, good conversations with the leadership team [and] with Chairman [of the Judiciary Committee Rep. Bob] Goodlatte [R-Va.] on a path forward.”
Meadows continued on to say that both the Justice Department and the FBI would only have this “one last chance to comply.”
“I hope we can avoid impeachment and hopefully avoid contempt and get the documents, but certainly both those things are on the table and remain on the table to have more of a contempt process,” he went on. “Both options remain there.”
The Freedom Caucus chairman explained that if the Department of Justice doesn’t comply, pursuing contempt may “unite” House Republicans who “have been more frustrated,” instead of just going right for the impeachment option.
Speaker Paul Ryan on Thursday firmly rejected an effort by House conservatives to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, putting him at odds with hard-liners in his party and even some in his own leadership team.
But it’s unclear how long he can keep them at bay.
Just minutes after the Wisconsin Republican told reporters that he did not think Rosenstein’s actions merited his removal from office, House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said Ryan had agreed to a different deal: Conservatives would give the Justice Department “one last chance” in August to turn over a range of documents that lawmakers subpoenaed in March or else Rosenstein could face charges of contempt of Congress.
It won’t be long before Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein faces some kind of consequences for his crooked actions. While the impeachment option may be indefinitely postponed, contempt charges could be coming in the near future.