“A VERY SERIOUS CONCERN”

by Sharon Rondeau

(Oct. 21, 2018) — In an interview with Maria Bartiromo of “Sunday Morning Futures,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said that he and three other congressmen will be questioning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wednesday in the presence of a court reporter about a September 21, 2018 New York Times article alleging that Rosenstein discussed “wearing a wire” to secretly record President Trump’s conversations and make the case for his removal from office via the 25th Amendment.

The others to be present in the secure room, known as a “SCIF,” will be House Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, ranking member Elijah Cummings, and Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerrold Nadler, as well as a court reporter cleared to hear classified information, Goodlatte said.

The deposition was rescheduled from October 11 and will encompass what one Oversight Committee member, Mark Meadows, said was Rosenstein’s request for the secure room and limiting the number of individuals who could be present.

Goodlatte told Bartiromo that originally, Rosenstein had suggested that committee members sit down with him informally to discuss The Times‘s allegations but that the Judiciary and Oversight Committees insisted that Rosenstein’s response be on-the-record, transcribed, reviewed by the intelligence community and ultimately released to the public.

Bartiromo raised Meadows’s objection to being barred from the deposition wherein on Twitter, he labeled Rosenstein’s arrangement “special treatment” as compared to others from the Justice Department and FBI who have testified about their conduct in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Several congressional committees have for more than a year been investigating whether or not the DOJ and FBI were involved in political activity aimed at derailing Trump’s campaign and, when that failed, his presidency.

Bartiromo reminded Goodlatte that Rep. Jim Jordan of the Judiciary Committee also objected to the arrangement, stating he and others are “blocked” from asking questions Wednesday.

“No, they’re not blocked at all,” Goodlatte responded.  “In fact, Chairman Gowdy and I have made it very clear to the other members of our task force that we will ask any questions that they put forward to us.”

Goodlatte also said that the setting and limited number of people were his and Gowdy’s “proposal.”

When Bartiromo asked if Rosenstein had been “serious” about recording Trump based on a closed-door interview given Thursday by former FBI Chief Counsel James Baker, Goodlatte responded, “Well, we don’t know because we have not talked to anybody who was in the room yet.”

Baker was reportedly not present at the time Rosenstein allegedly made the remarks but appears to have testified that Rosenstein approached him with the idea later.

Bartiromo then reviewed for Goodlatte an October 14 interview by Judiciary Committee member John Ratcliffe, who intimated that crucial information which should have been presented to the FISA court when applying for surveillance warrants on then-Trump campaign sdviser Carter Page was withheld and that “classified information was leaked to the media.”

Rosenstein signed the last of four warrant applications, all of which were approved, based on the contention that Page was acting as an agent of the Russian government.  Page has denied the allegation and not been charged with a crime.

“There’s a lot of evidence to support Mr. Ratcliffe’s statements,” Goodlatte responded.  “I think there’s a lot to suggest that what Mr. Ratcliffe is suggesting is a very serious concern, and that’s why we want the deputy attorney general to respond to that and give his perspective on it.”

The full interview is here.

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