Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Rep. Jim Jordan locked horns in an explosive exchange during a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
“Why are you keeping information from Congress?” the Ohio Republican bluntly asked Rosenstein who, along with FBI director Christopher Wray, was testifying Thursday on Capitol Hill over the Department of Justice’s transparency.
Rosenstein denied withholding information prompting Jordan to warn that “in a few minutes, the House of Representatives will say something different,” referring to the DOJ’s delays in turning over classified documents related to secret surveillance in 2016.
“I don’t agree with you, Congressman and I don’t believe that’s what they are going to say,” Rosenstein fired back, pointing his finger.
“I think in a few minutes the House of the Representatives is going to go on record and say you haven’t complied with requests from a separate and equal branch of government, that you haven’t complied with subpoenas and you have seven days to get your act together,” Jordan responded. “I think that’s what is going to happen. That’s not Jim Jordan. I think that’s the majority of House of Representatives. I don’t know why you won’t give us what we’ve asked for.”
“I certainly hope your colleagues aren’t under that impression. That is not accurate, sir,” Rosenstein replied, with a smirk.
“It is accurate,” Jordan said. “We have caught you hiding information.”
The House Judiciary Committee momentarily debated whether the congressman was out of order before the questioning resumed, with Jordan asking why Rosenstein redacted information relating to Peter Strzok.
“I am the deputy attorney general of the United States, okay? I’m not the person doing the redacting. I’m responsible for responding to your concerns as I have. I have a team with me, sir, just a fraction of the team doing this work,” Rosenstein said. So your statement that I am personally keeping information from you, trying to conceal information—”
“You’re the boss, Mr. Rosenstein,” Jordan interjected.
The deputy attorney general accused the congressman of resorting to personal attacks against him as he continued to deny that he was concealing anything.
“But your use of this to attack me personally is deeply wrong,” he said.
The uncomfortable exchange continued to spiral as Jordan referred to media reports, asking Rosenstein if he ever “threatened staffers on the House Intelligence Committee” by subpoenaing their phone calls and emails. Rosenstein’s denial and response that “there is no way to subpoena phone calls,” sparked laughter around the room.
“I’m reading what the press said,” Jordan shot back.
“I would suggest you not rely on what the press says,” Rosenstein said.