GOP lawmakers want Rosenstein subpoena, as talks hit impasse

Republican lawmakers called Wednesday for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to be subpoenaed, amid an impasse in negotiating his testimony on reports he suggested secretly recording President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

Rosenstein had been scheduled to appear Thursday before the House oversight and judiciary committees, but one aide told Fox News there is no confirmed date. On Wednesday afternoon, Fox News was told Rosenstein was not expected to appear for a closed-door meeting with the judiciary committee Thursday.

While talks may be ongoing, Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz and Arizona GOP Rep. Andy Biggs put out a statement saying Rosenstein balked -- and called on senior Republicans to issue a subpoena.

"I hope that a subpoena will impress upon DAG Rosenstein the gravity of our request, and I look forward to questioning him when he appears before the committee," Gaetz said in the statement.

Late Wednesday, Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Rosenstein "owes the American people answers about whether he participated in any conversations or decisions seeking to undermine President Trump's administration from within. There is reason to be deeply concerned he did."

Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, added that "if the Deputy Attorney General will not show up voluntarily, it is abundantly clear we need to subpoena him."

Two sources close to the negotiations told Fox News earlier Wednesday that Rosenstein’s scheduled appearance on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee was reaching an impasse over the terms of the testimony. Some lawmakers are insisting that Rosenstein give a transcribed interview under oath -- the standard for congressional taskforce interviews.

But those close to Rosenstein prefer a meeting or briefing with the House Judiciary Committee chairman and other lawmakers, where there is no paper trail, the sources said.

A House Judiciary Committee aide on Wednesday left the door open for a possible resolution.

“We have many questions for Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and expect answers to those questions,” the aide said. “There is not at this time a confirmed date for a potential meeting. Nevertheless, we will continue to provide updates as we have them.”


Fox News has requested comment from the Justice Department, asking what terms would be acceptable for an appearance and whether Rosenstein was unwilling to do a transcribed interview.

Sources said this is Rosenstein’s opportunity to tell his side of the story and set the record straight under oath.

The New York Times first reported the details of the alleged discussions between Rosenstein and senior FBI officials in May 2017, one day before Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation.

After the allegations surfaced, Fox News reported on Sept. 22, based on a source who was in the meeting, that Rosenstein's "wire" comments were viewed as "sarcastic."

Rosenstein also released a statement saying, "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

But former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker told congressional investigators during a closed-door deposition last week that two senior FBI officials at the time told him they believed Rosenstein was “serious.”

The report triggered new tensions between the White House and DOJ, where Rosenstein oversees the Mueller-led probe.

Amid speculation that the deputy attorney general might be fired or quit, a meeting between Trump and Rosenstein was pushed off repeatedly -- until Monday, when the two met for 45 minutes aboard Air Force One, en route to a police conference in Florida. Trump said the conversation was "great," and he has no plans to fire Rosenstein.

Fox News' Chad Pergram contributed to this report.