Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will ask the House of Representatives to probe its own committee staff, according to a Justice Department official who spoke to CNN. The request stems from allegations from Fox News that Rosenstein threatened in a closed door meeting to subpoena emails, phone records, and other documents from lawmakers and staff on the House Intelligence Committee. Fox News obtained emails describing a January 2018 meeting in which aides felt threatened by Rosenstein.
In a note to the House office of General Counsel, Kash Patel, former Senior Counsel for Counterterrorism on the committee, wrote “The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding…going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.”
Justice Department officials, including Jeff Sessions, pushed back against accounts of the meeting described in this fashion. Having spoken with staff who attended the meeting, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein on Tuesday during an interview with Fox News, telling the network he was “confident that Deputy Rosenstein, after 28 years in the Department of Justice, did not improperly threaten anyone on that occasion.”