Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be the first to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week on the origins of the Russia probe that entangled President Donald Trump and his associates for the last three years.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) issued a statement yesterday after announcing Rosenstein would testify before the committee at a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1.” Senator Graham’s statement reads, “Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters. This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.” A committee aide confirmed that Rosenstein has accepted the invitation to testify at the hearing, which is scheduled to take place next Wednesday.
“Crossfire Hurricane” is the FBI’s internal code name for the bureau’s original investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign were colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. That investigation was launched by the FBI in July 2016. Graham noted that the committee will, among other things, look at “whether Robert Mueller should have ever been appointed as special counsel.”
The hearing marks a pivotal step in the investigation by the Republican-led panel—one that President Trump and his allies have been aggressively encouraging in recent weeks as they seek accountability for the rogue officials and bureaucrats who have worked relentlessly to take the president down since the election of 2016. The committee’s investigation is expected to focus on a wide range of issues related to the Justice Department’s handling of the counterintelligence investigation, which eventually morphed into special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. In May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Mueller after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from overseeing the investigation due to his role as an adviser to the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. Robert Mueller’s team eventually announced that it found no evidence of collusion.
Rosenstein also penned the “scope memo” for Mueller’s investigation in August 2017, outlining the authority of Mueller. Earlier this month, the memo was released in full and revealed for the first time that Mueller’s authority went significantly beyond what was previously known.
The day after the hearing in which Rosenstein is set to testify, the committee is expected to vote on a broad subpoena giving Graham the authority to compel documents and testimony from a slew of former Obama and Trump administration officials, including James Comey, Susan Rice, and current FBI Director Christopher Wray. U.S. Attorney General William Barr is also on that list.
Will this be yet another dog and pony show, or will America finally start to get some long-overdue answers next week? That remains to be seen. It will be interesting to watch this unfold to see if those senators who have been hitting the political talk show circuit for the last few years claiming they want “accountability” actually press Rosenstein and other pending witnesses for real truths.
This piece was written by Amy Johnston on May 28, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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