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Deputy AG Rosenstein, FBI Director Wray grilled by House panel on Clinton probe

Thursday - 28/06/2018 14:19
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray faced sharp questioning from lawmakers (...)

 

WASHINGTON--Republican lawmakers and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein clashed Thursday as part of a bitter dispute over the Justice Department's handling of both the Clinton email investigation and the ongoing inquiry into the Trump campaign with some Republicans accusing the deputy attorney general of withholding key information from Congress.

At one point, the House Judiciary Committee hearing, where Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray had been called to testify, devolved into an angry exchange between the deputy attorney general and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who asserted that Rosenstein was "hiding" information from Congress.

"We caught you hiding information!" Jordan said.

Clearly agitated, Rosenstein wagged a finger at the congressman seated to his left, calling his remarks "deeply wrong."

"It's not accurate, sir," Rosenstein said. "I am not hiding anything from you...If you are interested in the truth, there are (people) working around the clock doing their best (to provide the information requested)."

The House hearing marked the third congressional review in the past two weeks largely centered on the findings of an internal Justice Department review that blasted that blasted former FBI and Justice officials for their handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state.

The report by the Justice Department's inspector general found cascading errors in judgment by top officials who oversaw the inquiry, including then-FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Though the report offered searing criticism of law enforcement decision-making, it found that the investigation itself was not swayed by political bias. 

Republican lawmakers have threatened to punish Justice and FBI officials with contempt actions and even impeachment if the agency doesn't comply with a demand for documents related to the Clinton and Trump inquiries.

But Rosenstein and Wray told the panel Thursday that they were providing hundreds of thousands of documents to Congress as part of an "unprecedented" disclosure.

Wray said that the FBI had recently assigned at least 100 people to complete the process.

Perhaps more than anything, Thursday hearing underscored the deep divisions within the Republican Party, as Republican lawmakers engaged in unrelenting attacks on fellow Republican Rosenstein, who was appointed by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein, however, has drawn the ire of both Trump and the president's arch-conservative allies in Congress for his role overseeing the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 campaign.

Following the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to lead the Russia probe, which has so far resulted in the indictment of at least 20 people, including some of Trump's closest former aides.

On Thursday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., expressed his frustration with the yearlong Russia investigation and urged Rosenstein and Wray to push for a conclusion.

"Whatever you got, finish it the hell up!" Gowdy implored, adding that the inquiry was "tearing the country apart."

"I want him (Mueller) to finish the investigation as expeditiously as possible," Rosenstein responded.

 

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