WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan said he is opposed to a plan by House Freedom Caucus leaders to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
“No. I do not,” Ryan (R-Wis.) said when asked if he supported the plan during a news conference on Thursday.
Ryan added: “I don’t think we should be cavalier with this process or with this term (impeachment).”
GOP Reps. Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on Wednesday evening in response to an ongoing with feud with the Department of Justice over documents related to Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
The plan reportedly has been postponed. The House adjourns for August recess later today. The plan could be reintroduced when the lower chamber returns after Labor Day.
Ryan told reporters DoJ has become more compliant with congressional subpoenas but went on to say he expects “full compliance.”
When asked if he intervened to try and halt the impeachment plan, Ryan said: “They (Meadows and Jordan) know how I feel about this. We all want to make sure we get compliance and different members have different beliefs on how best to achieve those goals.”
Jordan announced his candidacy for speaker as Ryan was taking questions.
Ryan, who is retiring in January, reiterated that he wants House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) to succeed him as speaker.
Jordan is under scrutiny due to allegations that he turned a blind eye to sexual abuse while an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University during the 1980s and early 90’s. He has denied the allegations.
The impeachment effort was unlikely to bear fruit even if it passed the House.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) dismissed the plan as unworthy of comment when asked about it at a news conference last week.
Two-thirds of the Senate would have had to approve the plan for Rosenstein to be convicted and removed from office.
TMN asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi at her weekly news conference why Freedom Caucus members decided to pursue impeachment.
Pelosi said Jordan might be trying to deflect attention from the Ohio State scandal but she went on to say the plan probably was designed to damage the Mueller probe.
“The fact that truth and fact and data and evidence have never been something that the Republicans have sought or based their decision-making on-so they would want to hurt Rosenstein so that they could hurt the Mueller investigation,” Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.
Pelosi added: “But hopefully saner minds will prevail on the Republican side and they won’t bring this up.”
Pelosi went on to say: “If they (Republicans) did, we welcome their voting on undermining our democracy.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein when asked about the impeachment plan at an event in Boston on Thursday.
“My deputy, Rod Rosenstein, is highly capable,” Sessions said. “I have the highest confidence in him.”