LAWMAKERS SEEKING LENGTHY, COMPREHENSIVE TESTIMONY
by Sharon Rondeau
“When he found out that our intention was to ask him details about the Comey firing, his role in that, the aftermath of that, the appointment of Special Counsel, the scope of Special Counsel, his role in the FISA process and potential abuses of the FISA process, he wanted a little bit more time,” Ratcliffe said. “Hopefully justice delayed is not justice denied,” the former federal prosecutor added.
When Rosenstein does testify, Ratcliffe said, it will likely be in a public setting after the midterm elections. “Hopefully, the sooner, the better,” he said.
Rosenstein had been scheduled to testify for a transcribed interview to members of the House Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees after a previous date of October 11 fell through. Republicans, who head the committees due to a majority in the House of Representatives, are eager to discover whether or not a New York Times article last month is accurate in alleging that Rosenstein planned to secretly record Trump during private conversations and attempt to remove him from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Through a Justice Department spokesman, Rosenstein said The Times‘s article is “inaccurate” and “factually incorrect.”
The responsibility of overseeing the “Russia” investigation fell to Rosenstein after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything related to Russia as a result of his early support for Trump as a US senator.
In May 2017, one week after FBI Director James Comey was fired, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to continue the FBI’s investigation into Trump-Russia alleged “collusion” and the extent to which Russia interfered in the 2016 election. To date, although a number of Russians and Russian entities have been indicted for allegedly attempting to insert themselves into the 2016 election, no Americans have been indicted on charges directly relating to contacts with Russia.
Trump has denied that anyone in his campaign, including himself, “colluded” with the Kremlin to win the White House.
Bartiromo also asked Ratcliffe about the committees’ interview Thursday of former Trump energy-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who testified privately about individuals who approached him in the first part of 2016 alleging that “Russia” possessed information damaging to the Hillary Clinton campaign.
In 2017, Papadopoulos told the FBI that to his knowledge, there was no “collusion” between members of the Trump campaign and Russia, but the information he imparted was not included in four FISA applications for surveillance on Trump foreign-policy adviser Carter Page.
Page was surveilled for approximately a year, with Rosenstein having signed the fourth and final warrant application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC).
Papdopoulos appears to be the person on whom the FBI centered in opening its unusual counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign. In a Friday interview with Brian Kilmeade of Fox & Friends, Papdopoulos said that with guidance from his new legal team, he may seek to withdraw his “guilty” plea of lying to the FBI during questioning.
Papadopoulos was arrested in January of last year and accepted the plea deal in September 2017 during what he told Kilmeade was “a chaotic moment” which he is now rethinking. He has of late been tweeting about various aspects of the FBI’s probe into a presidential campaign and suggesting a nexus among certain individuals associated with it.
Of the upcoming midterm elections, Ratcliffe said he is confident that Republicans will hold the Senate and House, which would enable the continuation of the investigations into the conduct of the Justice Department and FBI during the 2016 election cycle.
Ratcliffe stressed that Republicans support the work of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency, a division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), while many Democrats have voiced support for disbanding it. At present, a migrant “caravan” of as many as 14,000-15,000 people is making its way through Mexico to the U.S. border, hoping to enter the United States in any way possible.
At 10:20 a.m. EDT, Bartiromo’s producers reported in a screen caption that President Trump is “expected to announce executive action on border security Tuesday.”