Auto-generated transcripts of Trey Gowdy listing the DOJ’s glaring conflicts of interest within the “Russia Collusion Investigation” appear at the bottom of this article.
The Duran, Gateway Pundit, and ZeroHedge report:
EPIC: Trey Gowdy destroys corrupt DOJ, FBI Trump-Russia collusion investigation (Video)
Deputy Attorney General Rob Rosenstein is Dismantled by Trey Gowdy
by ALEX CHRISTOFOROU December 14, 2017
FBI corruption and partisan politics, conflicts of interest are coming to light, exposing an intelligence agency actively colluding to prevent a Trump election win.
Peter Strzok’s text messages are things that only occur in a police state…agents actively working to subvert election results.
This is real election meddling…not “Russia” false narratives. As Tucker Carlson noted last week…
“It’s among the great ironies in recent history, certainly the recent history of American criminal justice, an FBI probe begun to find corruption in government, may simply have exposed corruption within the FBI itself.”
According to Zerohedge, if there is any remaining doubt in your mind that Special Counsel Mueller’s probe is anything but a farcical, politically-motivated witch hunt, then you’ll be summarily relieved of those doubts after watching the following exchange from earlier this morning between Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Via The Gateway Pundit…
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte called for the hearing after recent media reports revealed the political motives of Special Counsel Mueller’s staff.
Trey Gowdy (SC) went off on Rosenstein in an epic 6 minute tirade about the conflicts of interest and corruption in the DOJ and FBI.
Trey Gowdy pointed out the very reason for a Special Counsel is to avoid conflicts of interest then continues to outline all of the corruption and conflicts of interest with the associates in the Mueller investigation.
Gowdy brought up the demoted DOJ official Ohr and his wife who worked for Fusion GPS.
Rep. Gowdy then went off on Trump-hating FBI agent Strzok and read some of the text messages he sent his FBI lawyer mistress Lisa Page.
“This ‘conflict of interest-free’ senior agent of the FBI can’t think of a single solitary American who would vote for Donald Trump!” Gowdy said.
“These are the people who we were told we needed for a ‘conflict of interest free’ investigation?” Gowdy asked.
Auto-generated transcripts of Trey Gowdy listing the DOJ’s glaring conflicts of interest within the “Russia Collusion Investigation.”
when I go home to South Carolina this weekend trust me when I tell you no one is gonna ask me about any of those issues they’re gonna ask me what in the hell is going on with the Department of Justice and the FBI the reason we have special counsel this is a very important point the written you know it the reason we have special counsel is because of a conflict of interest the regulation itself specifically makes reference to a conflict of interest and and we don’t like conflicts of interest because it undercuts people’s confidence in both the process and the result
so so let’s be really clear why we have special counsel there was either a real or perceived conflict of interest that we were fearful would either impact the result or people’s confidence in the process that’s why we have something called special counsel and that’s why we have special counsel in this fact pattern and then lo and behold those who are supposed to make sure there are no conflicts of interest seem to have a few of their own there’s a senior prosecutor who said obsequious emails to a fact witness I she can be described as nothing other than a fact witness she’s a really important fact witness if you pursue the line of inquiry that my Democrat friends want to pursue they got off of collusion and now their own obstruction of justice she may be the most important fact witness in an obstruction of justice case and the senior prosecutor for this conflict of interest free special counsel sent a fawning obsequious email to a fact witness and then we have prosecutors assigned to conduct this investigation who donated almost exclusively to one candidate over another and then we have a prosecutor assigned to this conflict of interest free team that attended what was supposed to be what he’d hoped to be a victory party for Secretary Clinton
and we have a senior DOJ official mr. Deputy Attorney General with an office it used to be two doors now from yours meeting with fusion GPS and using GPS of course was paying for Russian dirt on the very person that they’re supposed to be objectively investigating and then that same senior DOJ officials wife the one that met with fusion GPS his wife was on the payroll of fusion GPS
and then we have a senior agent assigned to investigate secretary Clinton’s email helped draft the exoneration letter well we changed the language from grossly negligent to extremely careless interviewed Secretary Clinton in an interview I’ve never seen and I doubt you have either in your career as a prosecutor interviewed Michael Flynn was actively involved in the investigation into the trunk campaign before the Inspector General found his text
so this agent in the middle of almost everything related to Secretary Clinton and President Trump sent pro-clinton text anti-trump text to his paramour in response to being told maybe he is where he is to protect the country from that menace Donald Trump he said I can protect our country at many levels and then he said Hillary Clinton should win million to nothing I think about that mr. Deputy Attorney General that’s a pretty overwhelming victory million to zero and when I read that last night what I thought was this conflict of interest free senior agent of the FBI I can’t think of a single solitary American who would vote for Donald Trump that’s where the zero comes in not a single solitary American he can imagine would vote for Donald Trump this is the conflict of interest free special agent aside and then he went on if that weren’t enough to belittle Trump supporters by saying he could smell them at a Walmart in Virginia
this is the person we needed to avoid a conflict of interest and then he said this they fully deserve to go and demonstrate the absolute bigoted nonsense of Trump but he wasn’t content to just disparage Donald Trump he had to disparage Donald Trump’s family this is what he said mr. Deputy Attorney General he said the douchebags are about to come out he’s talking about our First Lady and children this conflict of interest free special agent of the FBI this is who we were told we needed to have an objective impartial fair conflict of interest free investigation
so he’s openly pulling for the candidate he had a role in clearing and he’s openly investigating a candidate that he has bias against and then if that’s not enough he says Trump is an effing idiot what the f just happened to our country this is the same man that said he would save our country what happens when people who are supposed to cure the conflict of interest have even greater conflicts of interest than those they replace well that’s not a rhetorical question it you nor I nor anyone else whatever
sit Peter struck on a jury we wouldn’t have him objectively dispassionately investigate anything knowing what we know now why didn’t we know what ahead of time and
my last question my final question to you and I appreciate the Chairman’s patience how would you help me answer that question when I go back to South Carolina this weekend congressman first of all
with regard to the special counsel mr. struck was already working on the investigation when the special counsel was appointed the appointment I made was with Robert Mullins what I’d recommend that you tell your constituents is that Robert Muller and Rod Rosenstein and Chris Rea are accountable and that we will ensure that no bias is reflected in any of the actions taken by the special counsel or in any matter within the jurisdiction the Department of Justice when we have evidence of any inappropriate conduct
we’re going to take action on it and that’s what mr. Muller did here as soon as he learned about this issue he took action and that’s what I anticipate that the rest of our prosecutors are a new group of US Attorney’s our Justice Department employment ease they understand the rules and they understand the responsibility to defend the integrity of the department and if they find evidence of improper conduct they’re going to take action so congressman that’s the best assurance I can give you
but actually there’s one other point which is you should tell your constituents that we expose this issue because we’re ensuring that the Inspector General conducts a thorough and effective investigation and
if there is any evidence of impropriety he’s going to surface it and report about it publicly I’ll try I’m a gentleman has expired she recognizes gentleman from Rhode I English (auto-generated)
Rep. DeSantis RIPS Rotten Rosenstein After He Smugly Refuses to Answer Whether FBI Paid For Garbage Dossier (VIDEO)
SOURCE The Gateway Pundit
December 18, 2017 by Cristina Laila
Deputy AG Rosenstein admitted to Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) whether he knew if the FBI paid for the garbage dossier, yet he smugly refused to answer the question.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
First, Ron DeSantis asked Rosenstein, “The Russia investigation. Who started it? Who was the agent? Was it Strzok who started it? Who opened the case?”
Rosenstein fidgeted as he said, “That matter is under review by the Intelligence Committee and there is nothing that I can talk about publicly regarding the initiation of the investigation.”
Then DeSantis point blank asked rotten Rosenstein if the FBI paid for Hillary’s garbage dossier.
“I’m not in position to answer that question,” Rosenstein answered.
“Do you know the answer to the question?” DeSantis asked.
“I believe I know the answer but uh the Intelligence Committee is the appropriate committee-” Rosenstein smugly said.
Rep. DeSantis interrupted Rosenstein and ripped into him.
“That’s not true! We have oversight over your department and the FBI and whether public funds were spent on a dossier-that’s not something that is classified! We have every right to that information. You should provide it,” DeSantis said.
Rosenstein continued to obfuscate as DeSantis grilled him over the conflicts of interest and corruption in the FBI and DOJ.
Where the hell is AG Sessions?? Shut this witch hunt down and go after all of the criminals in the FBI and DOJ who were in on this conspiracy to take down a duly elected President.
VIDEO via Media Buzz:
TRANSCRIPTS: Rod Rosenstein Testifies Before the Justice Department
(Does not include Trey Gowdy)
Source CNN Aired December 13, 2017 – 10:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
Congressman Bob Goodlatte, New York
GOODLATTE: — in that decision, you announced some practices that I took it to mean you thought were inappropriate actions on the part of the former FBI director. Do you think that those actions on his part would merit further investigation into how that whole matter was conducted?
ROSENSTEIN: Mr. Chairman, as you’re aware, the inspector general is conducting an investigation into the handling of that Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, and I believe that the matters that you’ve referred to are part of his investigation.
The memo that you’re familiar with that I provided reflects my personal opinion. It’s not an official finding of misconduct. That’s the inspector general’s job. He’ll reach his own independent determination. But, as you pointed out, my views about it are already known.
GOODLATTE: Are you aware of any prior efforts by the Judiciary Committee — this committee to unduly restrict the ability of the intelligence community to do its job of protecting our national security?
ROSENSTEIN: I’m not personally aware of any. No, sir.
GOODLATTE: Are you aware that this committee has primary oversight of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, due in part to the significant constitutional and legal questions that government surveillance raises?
ROSENSTEIN: Mr. Chairman, I respect the Congress’s decision about which committee has oversight. I know that both this committee and the Intelligence Committee have an interest in that issue.
GOODLATTE: Well, given the understand this committee’s jurisdiction and its history of providing the intelligence community with the tools it needs, why would we, in the words of the department, attempt to, quote, “dismantle” Section 702 of our nation’s most important surveillance program?
ROSENSTEIN: I certainly would hope that wouldn’t be the case. I don’t know who made the statement you’re referring to. I know the department obviously has expressed its opinion about the reauthorization, which we think is critically important, of Section 702.
I respect their differences of opinion, but I think the department has been very clear that we believe it’s essential to national security that Section 702 be reauthorized.
GOODLATTE: We agree with you that it’s essential that Section 702 be reauthorized. We also believe that it’s essential that the civil liberties of American citizens be protected and that a standard be imposed on the examination of information about U.S. citizens incidentally gathered as a part of the Section 702 program with the surveillance of non-U.S. citizens outside the United States, but — incidentally gathering information about U.S. citizens and then being looked into by agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation without a warrant.
I’m not aware of that being appropriate in any other type of investigation that they might — conducting. We’re not talking about terrorist attacks. We’re not talking about national security, because we have clearly distinguished that.
We’re simply talking about crimes that have already occurred, that are being investigated, as they should be investigated by the department, but under the procedures that the American people would expect that they would follow to protect their civil liberties in other circumstances.
ROSENSTEIN: Mr. Chairman, I — as you know, I’ve had the advantage, over the last eight months, of having a role in overseeing our national security operations. I discussed this with Director Wray yesterday, and if — if you’d like, I could give you a detailed explanation. It might take a couple of minutes, but I’d be happy to give you some details. But the bottom line is that it really is critical to national security that the FBI have the ability to query the data. That’s the issue here.
GOODLATTE: And our legislation allows them to do that. But if the query provides a hit that — they want to read an e-mail, they want to see other documentation, they want to see — in its full form, they’re required to get a warrant under those circumstances.
ROSENSTEIN: And I discussed this with Director Wray. And what happens when the FBI conducts these queries, Mr. Chairman, is that, typically, they’re leads that are not necessarily based on probable cause, but based on a lead, a suspicion. And the ability to query that data and then follow up on it gives the FBI the opportunity to put two and two together, to connect the dots…
GOODLATTE: There are lots of leads that any law enforcement person would like to pursue. But we have protections against them pursuing it without appropriate standard for doing it in a whole host of other ways, to protect people from unreasonable searches. And this is a search of information about a United States citizen.
ROSENSTEIN: Well it’s a — it’s a query, as a constitutional matter, what we’re talking about…
GOODLATTE: (OFF-MIKE) allow the initial query, once that results in something the agent wants to look at, I don’t see how you distinguish the further reading of e-mails or other things from a search.
ROSENSTEIN: If I could take a couple of minutes, I could explain to you — I talked with Director Wray about an appropriate way to explain this publicly.
Hypothetically, let’s say for example that a local police department receives a call that somebody has purchased a large quantity of hydrogen peroxide, and something made the clerk at the store suspicious about that. So he contacts the local police. There’s no probable cause. There’s nothing illegal about what the person did, but something that caused concern. The local police may…
GOODLATTE: General Rosenstein, let me interrupt you, because the very specific instance that you are citing was cited to us in our discussions with the FBI, and that very specific protection for the FBI was added to our legislation.
ROSENSTEIN: Well, the example I’m providing is a situation where there would not be probable cause, but we think it would be appropriate for the FBI to follow up. And what we’re trying to avoid is a situation where we re-erect a wall that would prevent the FBI from gaining access to information that might allow them to connect a lead to information that implicates national security.
GOODLATTE: Thank you. My time has expired.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, New York
The chair recognizes the gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler, for five minutes.
NADLER: Thank you.
On Monday, Ranking Member Cummings and I wrote you a letter, sir, about the majority’s ongoing investigation into the investigation of Former Secretary Clinton. Without objection, I ask unanimous consent that our letter it be placed into the record.
GOODLATTE: Without objection, it will be made a part of the record.
NADLER: Thank you. For — the first part of our letter discusses the department’s failure to provide the minority with access to the documents you’ve already provided to the majority. Yes or no, will you commit to ensuring that the minority — that we receive equal access to any materials you may provide this committee in the future?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes, and I believe we — my understanding is that that information may have been provided to the…
NADLER: I’m (ph) not interested in the past at this point. Thank you. That’s all I wanted (ph). I have to be — I have a lot of questions. The majority of this committee, the White House and President Trump’s private attorneys have all called for the Department of Justice to appoint a new special counsel to investigate a number of Hillary Clinton-related matters. I think we could benefit from your experience in how the special counsel regulation’s work.
The regulations say the attorney general, or, in your case, the acting attorney general, will appoint the special counsel when you determine that, one, criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted, and two, the investigation either presents a conflict of interest to the department or some other strong public interest requires you to appoint this special counsel.
That first part, when he or she determines a criminal investigation of a personal matter is warranted — is that part of the regulations optional?
ROSENSTEIN: No, that is a part of the regulations.
NADLER: OK, thank you. So a criminal investigation must first be determined to be warranted before you can assign a special counsel to the matter?
NADLER: Thank you. And, at the Department of Justice, a criminal investigation requires an initial assessment and a preliminary review of the evidence?
NADLER: Has that assessment been made with respect to former Director Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: I’m not going to comment on any investigations in the normal course. Before we made a determination, we would conduct an appropriate review.
NADLER: And I assume your answer be the same if I asked you about the FBI’s interaction with Fusion GPS?
ROSENSTEIN: It would be the same for anything, yes.
NADLER: OK. Then, presuming for a moment — presuming for a moment that the department has conducted an initial assessment and found no predicate for criminal investigation — so, in plain English, there is no ongoing criminal investigation — under this presumption, could you or the — Attorney General Sessions simply appoint this special counsel to look into these matters?
NADLER: As I said earlier, to my knowledge, there’s been no credible factual or legal claim that anybody at the department violated any law by deciding not to bring charges or by attempting to meet with Fusion GPS.
If that is true, if there is no underlying criminal investigation because there is insufficient evidence of a crime, in this or any other case, do the regulations permit you to appoint a special counsel? ROSENSTEIN: No.
NADLER: Thank you.
According to the department, the Office of the Inspector General informed Special Counsel Mueller of the existence of these text messages between Peter Strzok and Lisa Page on July 27th, 2017 — the texts you sent us last night.
Mr. Mueller immediately concluded the Mr. Strzok could no longer participate in the investigation, and he was removed from the team the same day. Did Mr. Mueller take appropriate action in this case?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes, he did.
NADLER: Thank you. In testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, you said that you would only fire Special Counsel Mueller for good cause, and that you had not seen any yet. Several months have passed since then. Have you seen good cause to fire Special Counsel Mueller?
NADLER: Thank you. If you were ordered today to fire Mr. Mueller, what would you do?
ROSENSTEIN: As I’ve explained previously, I would follow the regulation. If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not.
NADLER: And you see no good cause so far?
NADLER: Thank you.
On May 1st, the Office of Legal Counsel issued an opinion, arguing that “ranking minority members do not have the authority to conduct oversight,” unquote. Shortly thereafter, Politico reported that the White House counsel instructed federal agencies not to cooperate with oversight requests from Democrats.
Since then, Democrats on this committee have written more than 40 letters to the administration, without any meaningful response thus far. Can you clarify your current position on responding to letters from the minority? And are you concerned that the department’s May 1st opinion, serves to justify a policy of stonewalling by the administration?
ROSENSTEIN: My position, Congressman, is that that we make every effort to respond to any legitimate inquiry from a member of Congress. Obviously, we prioritize inquiries propounded by the chair on behalf of the committee, but we’ll make an effort to respond to any inquiry. We get a lot of letters.
NADLER: I’m sure.
ROSENSTEIN: And so I apologize if there’s a delay, but we…
NADLER: But would you prioritize, after letters from the chair, letters from the minority?
ROSENSTEIN: … our goal is to respond to all those letters in a — in a reasonable manner. In fact, when our new assistant attorney general, Stephen Boyd, took office, there was quite a backlog. And we’ve been…
NADLER: And would you encourage the Office of Legal Counsel to withdraw its May 1st opinion?
ROSENSTEIN: I’ll take a look at it, Congressman. But, as I said, the — without regard to what the law may require, our policy is to try to…
NADLER: I understand that, but you would take a look at whether you would encourage the Office of Legal Counsel to withdraw that May 1st opinion?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, I’m not — I’m not committing to do anything. I will agree to look at it.
NADLER: OK, thank you.
And, finally, I just want to say — and follow up with what the chairman was saying about Section 702. The bill that this committee reported specifically said you — basically said, where you’re doing a counterintelligence or a foreign or terrorism investigation, you don’t need a warrant to query Section 702 data. But, where you’re conducting an investigation of domestic crimes, then, like any other investigation of domestic crimes, you would need a warrant. So that — the danger that I think you were referring to is taken care of by the bill. And I endorse the comment of the chairman to that effect, and I think you should take a look at that. I urge you to take a look at that.
Thank you. I yield back.
Congressman Lamar Smith, Texas
GOODLATTE: The chair thanks the gentleman, recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith, for five minutes.
SMITH: And thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Rosenstein, I am concerned that the special counsel may be casting too wide of a net — that he is trying to catch all the fish in the ocean, not just the Soviet sharks. And, if the special counsel were to obtain information not directly related to Russian interference with the election, and he wanted to investigate that further, would he need to obtain your authority to expand the investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes, he would.
SMITH: OK. Has he ever asked to expand the scope of the investigation? ROSENSTEIN: I appreciate that question, Congressman. If I can explain briefly, there are a lot of media stories speculating about what the special counsel may or may not be doing. I know what he’s doing. I’m properly exercising my oversight responsibilities, and so I can assure you that the special counsel is conducting himself consistently with our understanding about the scope of his investigation.
SMITH: Right. That really wasn’t my question. My question was, has he asked you or consulted with you about a desire to expand the investigation beyond the original scope?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, the consultation, actually, is much more detailed than that. He consults with me, his office consults with me about their investigation, both within and without the scope. So I know what they’re authorized to do.
SMITH: I know you know what they’re doing, but has he requested to expand the scope of the original — of the original jurisdiction?
ROSENSTEIN: The scope of the original jurisdiction, as you know, is publicly set forth…
ROSENSTEIN: … in that order. But the specific matters are not identified in the order. So I discussed that with Director Mueller when he started, and we’ve had ongoing discussion about exactly what is within the scope of his investigation. And, to the extent there was any ambiguity about it, he’s received my permission to include those matters within his investigation.
SMITH: So he has asked to expand the scope and you’ve given him permission?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, yeah — you’re characterizing it as an expansion. As I said, it’s a clarification, in most cases. But he understands that this is a special counsel. It’s not an independent counsel.
SMITH: Right. Right.
ROSENSTEIN: And I’m accountable for what they’re doing, and I need to know what they’re doing.
SMITH: Yeah. A clarification may be an expansion, and we may be caught up on the meaning of those words. But I do think — regardless, I think the American people have a right to know if the original jurisdiction has been expanded. Do you agree with that?
ROSENSTEIN: The difficulty, Congressman, is that I have a responsibility not to talk about what’s being investigated, and that’s why the original order doesn’t identify any persons or charges.
ROSENSTEIN: But we know what’s under investigation. SMITH: I’m not asking you to go into any specifics, or to name names or to even talk about the subject; just whether or not the request had been made to expand it. You said you clarified his jurisdiction. I assume that that would involve an expansion, as you suggested.
ROSENSTEIN: I want to make sure I’m 100 percent accurate, and I’ll need to check and get back to you as to whether or not we considered particular issues to be a clarification or an expansion.
ROSENSTEIN: But, whatever it may be, I’m responsible for and I know what he’s investigating.
SMITH: OK. Please do get back to me on the difference between those two.
Do you feel that the special counsel is authorized to investigate the personal finances of the Trump family members?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, that would implicate the concern that I’ve expressed, that we just don’t talk about what’s under investigation. So I hope you don’t draw any inference, pro or con, but we’re simply not going to discuss it.
SMITH: Well, do you think the personal finances come under the original jurisdiction of direct involvement, of Russian interference with the election? ROSENSTEIN: I certainly appreciate your concern, Congressman. But I hope you appreciated my position that, if I start answering what is and isn’t, I’ve gone down that road that I just don’t go down of discussing what’s under investigation.
There have been four persons who have been charged. Those are known. And, ordinarily, the Department of Justice — that’s what we publicize. If we charge somebody with crime, we publicize it. If we don’t charge anybody with a crime, we don’t talk about it.
SMITH: Right. But some of the people charged have been charged with crimes not directly connected to Russian interference with the election.
ROSENSTEIN: The crimes with which they’re charged are publicly known.
SMITH: OK. So, in other words, you do feel that the special counsel can go into the personal finances not connected to Russian interference?
ROSENSTEIN: Hope I’ve been clear, Congressman, I am not commenting on the scope of the investigation.
SMITH: All right. What about — can the special counsel investigate the personal actions of staff unconnected to the Russian interference of the — with the election?
ROSENSTEIN: Only if I determine that it’s appropriate for him to do so. SMITH: OK. So that’s your determination, not the special counsel’s?
ROSENSTEIN: As I said, Congressman, I know what he’s doing. If I felt he was doing something inappropriate, I would take action.
SMITH: Right. Let me just maybe summarize by saying that I think the American people deserve to know who is being investigated, and why. I have one final question in my last couple of seconds here.
As you know, and as many of us know, in the lawyers’ code of ethics, attorneys are supposed to avoid not just the actual impropriety itself, but the appearance of impropriety. The special counsel has hired at least eight attorneys who had direct connections to both the — to either the Obama or Clinton campaigns.
Don’t you think that creates an appearance of impropriety? And I’m not saying whether you think they can do their jobs. Don’t you think it creates an appearance of impropriety?
ROSENSTEIN: I suppose…
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentleman has expired. The witness is permitted to answer the question.
ROSENSTEIN: I do not believe — I’m not aware of any impropriety. We do have regulations; the special counsel is subject to all the department’s rules and subject to oversight by the department, including the inspector general. I’m not aware of any violation of those rules by the special counsel employees.
SMITH: So you don’t think it creates the appearance of impropriety?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, appearance is to some extent in the eye of the beholder. We apply the department’s rules and regulations in making determinations, and we do have career ethics advisers who provide us counsel about that.
SMITH: All right (ph). Thank you, Mr. Rosenstein.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you.
Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, California
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from California, Ms. Lofgren, for five minutes.
LOFGREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Rosenstein, for being here with us today. You are a career attorney in the department, isn’t that right?
ROSENSTEIN: I would say I was a career attorney.
LOFGREN: Was a career attorney. You spent your whole life working for the people of the United States as a career attorney, until you were asked to fulfill the current function that you’re performing.
ROSENSTEIN: Well, as a U.S. attorney, I was a political appointee. So for the past 12 years, I’ve been a political appointee; 15 years prior to that, I was a career attorney.
LOFGREN: So let me ask you, I — in taking a look at the individuals who are working on the matters that we are discussing, are they career attorneys in the department that were working on this?
ROSENSTEIN: Some of them are, Congresswoman. Under the regulation, the special counsel is permitted to request the detail of attorneys in the department who he believes will be helpful. He also has authority to hire attorneys from outside the department, and he’s used both approaches.
LOFGREN: So wouldn’t they be subject to the principles — the merit system principles in the Civil Service Reform Act?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes. I believe they are.
LOFGREN: So you know, I was — we’ve been on the committee here for a long time. And I remember, back in 2008, there were allegations that the Department of Justice had used politics as a basis for hiring and firing in the department.
And the Office of Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility issued a report outlining the impropriety of using politics in personnel decisions. One of the things they said was that the department’s policy on nondiscrimination includes the Department of Justice needs to seek to eliminate discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, political affiliation, age and the like.
So wouldn’t that policy be governing the actions of the individuals working on this? You couldn’t discriminate based on this whole list, including their political affiliation?
ROSENSTEIN: Congresswoman, one of the advantages that I bring to the job is, having been in and around the department for a while, I’ve seen mistakes that have been made in the past.
And that is precisely one of the issues that I’ve discussed with our political appointees — that we’re not going to do that, that we are not going to improperly consider political affiliation with regard to career employees of the department.
LOFGREN: Thank you very much.
You know, I wanted to ask about a couple of concerns. And you may or may not have responsibility for this. If so, just let me know. I am concerned that the department has had a change in position on certain important voting rights issues.
One has to do with the purging of rolls in Ohio. The department had previously argued against purging those rolls because the National Voter Registration Act prohibits the purging of voters simply because they haven’t voted in a given period of time. And it’s my understanding that the department is now arguing that Ohio can purge individuals from rolls, even without evidence that they have moved.
Additionally, the department had argued that the state of Texas I.D. law had discriminated against individuals, and that the department has changed its position on that. And it’s — the law, as currently drafted, probably excludes up to 600,000 Americans from being able to vote because of the I.D. — the draconian I.D. laws.
Can you give us any insight into why the department changed its position on these key voting rights issues?
ROSENSTEIN: Congresswoman, I’m generally familiar. I don’t know all the details of both of those matters. But, as a general matter, it’s important to understand that the determination about — ultimate determination about what the law means is made by a judge. Department officials obviously need to make a decision, based upon a good-faith analysis of facts and the law, of what position to take.
It may be that new leadership of the department takes a different position. But I can assure you that’s based on a good-faith analysis, and there may be legitimate ambiguity in some of these provisions. And we’re responsible for making our determination, just like the prior administration made theirs. But ultimately, it will be up to a judge to decide what that law means.
Let me just ask a final question. It’s my understanding that, under the order appointing him, Mr. Mueller has the authority to investigate matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, which would include crimes uncovered while he is investigating the main mission.
So, for example, if he is looking at the Russia investigation and he finds out that the person he’s looking at committed a bank robbery, he isn’t required to ignore a bank robbery. Would that be a fair assessment of his responsibilities?
ROSENSTEIN: It’s a fair assessment…
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentlewoman has expired. Mr. Rosenstein may answer the question.
ROSENSTEIN: Congresswoman, it’s also — it’s important to recognize, because it’s a special counsel, not an independent counsel, those issues are worked out with the department. So, in the event that he came across evidence that was not appropriate for him to prosecute, he could refer it to other components of the department. So we wouldn’t allow something like that to slip through the cracks, but we would make sure to route it to the appropriate prosecutor.
LOFGREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Congressman Steve Chabot, Ohio
GOODLATTE: Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot, for five minutes.
CHABOT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Rosenstein, you already indicated that Mr. Strzok was removed for impropriety. It’s beyond me how the other people that were mentioned by the chairman and Mr. Smith were not removed for impropriety, as well.
Let me ask you, first of all, I assume that the team you put together, you felt, was going to be — that Mueller put together was going to be fair and unbiased, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: Correct. I selected Mr. Mueller, and he made the…
CHABOT: And he selected the team?
ROSENSTEIN: … staffing decisions.
CHABOT: Right. Now, let me just review a few facts about the supposedly unbiased group of people that Mr. Mueller pulled together. Nine of the 16 have made political contributions. To be fair, let’s just go through them in alphabetical order.
First, Greg Andres gave $1,000 to the Democrat running to hold the seat — the Senate seat previously held by Barack Obama. He gave $2,600 to Democrat Senator Gillibrand, who just this week led the charge of Democratic senators demanding that President Trump resign. And, yeah, Mr. Andres gave zero to the Trump campaign, or to any Republican, for that matter.
Next, again, in alphabetical order, Rush Atkinson. He donated to the Clinton campaign last year. Again, zero to the Trump campaign. Third, Kelly (sic) Freeny contributed to both Obama campaigns and to Hillary Clinton’s campaign; zero to the Trump campaign.
Next, Andrew Goldstein — he donated $3,300 to both Obama campaigns; again, zero to the Trump campaign. Fifth, Elizabeth Prelogar, who clerked for liberal Supreme Court Justices Ginsberg and Kagan, contributed to both the Obama and Clinton campaigns, and zero to Trump.
Next, James Quarles — he’s contributed to the Democratic presidential campaigns of Dukakis, Kerry, Obama and Hillary Clinton, and Gore as well. He did contribute to former Congressman Chaffetz and Senator Allen, but he contributed over $20,000 to Democratic House and Senate candidates, and again, gave zero to Trump.
Seventh, Jeannie Rhee — she actually represented, as was previously mentioned, Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation in several lawsuits. She’s donated $16,000 to Democrats, contributed $5,400 to the Clinton campaign and zero to the Trump campaign.
Eighth, Brandon Van Grack contributed to ActBlue, the fundraising outfit organized to elect Democratic congressional candidates, contributed to the Obama presidential campaign, and of course, gave nothing to Trump. And, finally, Andrew Weissmann — he contributed $2,000 to the
Democratic National Committee, $2,300 to the Obama campaign, $2,300 to the Clinton Campaign, and zero to Donald Trump. He’s also the guy who praised the holdover acting attorney general, Susan (sic) Yates, for defying President Trump on the travel ban.
Now, my question to you is, how, with a straight face, can you say that this group of Democrat partisans are unbiased and will give President Trump a fair shake?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, Congressman, I think it’s important to recognize that, when we talk about political affiliation, that all demonstrates political affiliation. The issue of bias is something different.
I’ve discussed this with Director Mueller, and he and I collectively have a lot of experience managing offices in the Department of Justice. We recognize we have employees with political opinions. And it’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions.
ROSENSTEIN: Pardon me. And so I believe that Director Mueller understands that and that he is running that office appropriately, recognizing that people have political views, but ensuring that those views are not in any way a factor in how they conduct themselves in office.
CHABOT: Well, when you say he’s running it appropriately, I think putting the committee, the people, these investigators together to begin this investigation in the first place is part of the investigation. And how these people — the group he put together is considered unbiased — I don’t know how anyone can possibly reach that conclusion.
You know, when this whole “Russia was involved in our elections” flap (ph) surfaced and you picked Robert Mueller to lead the investigation, I was, at first, encouraged. It seemed like a serious matter and it deserved a serious investigation. And I assumed, as many of us did, that Mr. Mueller would pull together an unbiased team.
But, rather than wearing stripes, as umpires and referees might wear, I would submit that the Mueller team overwhelmingly ought to be attired with Democratic donkeys on their jerseys or “I’m with Hillary” T-shirts — certainly not with “Let’s Make America Great Again.”
And I think that’s a shame, because I think the American people deserve a lot better than the very biased team that they’re getting under Robert Mueller, and I think it’s really sad.
I yield back.
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee, for five minutes.
JACKSON LEE: Deputy Attorney General, thank you. Welcome and thank you for your service to the nation. Allow me, just for a moment, as I move on (ph) my questions, to
indicate that I am shocked and baffled, the way some in the right-wing media and some of our friends on the other side show such contempt for the Department of Justice and the FBI and so much (sic) skepticism or mistrust of the Russian government.
Let me briefly review for the record, the FBI and DOJ brought to justice and put away Timothy McVeigh, domestic terrorist who killed 168 Americans; Klansmen who murdered civil rights workers Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner; the Unabomber; terrorists who bomb U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; organized crime family kingpins; —