Senate Republicans to grill Rosenstein amid renewed scrutiny of Russian Federation probe

Lawrence Kim
June 3, 2020

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is being grilled Wednesday by the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee over the origins of the FBI's Russian Federation probe - including his decision to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate President Trump. "Whenever agents or prosecutors make serious mistakes or engage in misconduct, the Department of Justice must take remedial action".

Democrats have accused Senate Republicans of using the hearings into the FBI Russia probe, known as Crossfire Hurricane, as a political fodder to bolster President Trump ahead of the November general election. "And if existing policies fall short, those policies need to be changed", Rosenstein said in his opening statement Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rosenstein's testimony marks the first time his handling of the probe is publicly scrutinized since he left the Justice Department previous year. "But investigative reviews published by the Inspector General [Michael Horowitz] in December 2019 and March 2020 revealed that the FBI was not following the written protocols, and that "significant errors" appeared in applications filed in connection with the Crossfire Hurricane investigation", Rosenstein said.

Democrats have raised concerns Republicans could use the Senate probe to attack Trump's rival Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic nominee in the November 3 presidential election.

In January, the Justice Department said that two of the four so-called "FISA applications" for surveillance of Page, including the final renewal application signed by Rosenstein, lacked enough information to establish probable cause and thus were invalid.

His remarks were likely to be welcomed by Trump and his Republican allies, who claim the president and his officials were treated unfairly by officials involved in the probe, including former FBI Director James Comey and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rosenstein later appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the Russian Federation probe, igniting Trump's bitter campaign against his own Justice Department.

"I decided that appointing a special counsel was the best way to complete the investigation appropriately and promote public confidence in its conclusions", he continued. "This is not about liking Trump or not liking Trump, this is about us as a nation", Graham said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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