Rep. DeSantis: Rosenstein has peculiar view of Constitution

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," May 4, 2018. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Anyway, the DOJ inspector general is looking into possible FBI misconduct and was supposed to testify next week on Capitol Hill.

Now, that hearing is delayed to make sure the investigation is complete and unimpeded, all this as the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, you might remember, continues to come under fire for his handling of the whole Mueller probe and how he reacted to all of that.

Critics claim he's botching it. He says the critics are piling on and they better be careful.

Florida Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis is a member of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congressman, I wonder if Rod Rosenstein was talking about you or guys like you when he talked about this pressure. What was it?

REP. RON DESANTIS, R-FLORIDA: I just think Rod Rosenstein has a peculiar view of the Constitution and rule of law.

He seems to think we have the Congress, we have the president, the courts, and then the Justice Department is superior to all of them, and that the rule of law is basically whatever some arbitrary decision is made by him or Mueller or other people in the department.

That is not the way this operates. They are a statutorily created department. They get their funding from Congress. And we, the American people and their elected representatives, have a right to conduct oversight over their activity.

So, he has stonewalled our investigations for months and months. And, yes, I do think he has botched this whole Mueller thing. I don't think there was a basis to appoint Mueller, but he certainly has not reined him in. He has let this thing go far beyond the original mandate.

CAVUTO: But isn't that what you're supposed to do? I don't know what the procedures are, Congressman. You know better than I. But isn't that what you're supposed to do, just let him do his thing and see what happens?

Because the danger is that you guys, with maybe the best of legal intentions and all, could prolong this.

DESANTIS: Well, but look at those questions, Neil. You have Mueller, who is an inferior officer in the executive branch -- he's beneath Sessions, beneath Rosenstein -- asking -- wants to ask the president of the United States, the head of the executive branch, what was your opinion of James Comey?

What did you think when you tweeted this? What was your mind when you fired Comey? He doesn't have a right to conduct oversight over presidential decisions that are basic uses of presidential power, where there's no criminal activity at issue.

And so...


CAVUTO: But you could make the same argument, right -- I know it's a little apples and oranges, Congressman -- with the kind of questions Ken Starr had, and were way below the pay grade of some of his superiors at Justice and elsewhere, asking the questions of then President Bill Clinton on a variety of other matters that might have been deemed and were, in fact, criticized for being insulting and way beyond his bounds.

DESANTIS: And they were, Neil.

But here's the difference. Ken Starr was an independent prosecutor. He did not answer formally to the executive branch.

Now, I think and Justice Scalia wrote eloquently that that's unconstitutional, and that statute has expired. And I think that that was the right thing to do. Mueller is not an independent counsel. He's just an officer in the executive branch.

CAVUTO: Well, what do you think of Rod Rosenstein then? When he spoke to the president a couple of weeks ago and reportedly told the president, you're not a target of this investigation, might be a subject, whatever, not a target?

What did you think of him saying that? And, B, do you agree with that? Does that look like the case to you?

DESANTIS: Two things.

One, that's elusive. I was a former prosecutor. You may not be a target today. That can change very quickly. And then the second thing is, is, if he's not a target, the president can't be indicted under basic Justice Department guidelines in place for decades.

Then why do they want to interview him? What are they trying to do? And I think guys like me see it as they're trying to create grist for the mill for a potential impeachment if the Democrats retake the House. That's not a proper use of a special counsel.


CAVUTO: But you don't have to be a target, you don't have to be a target, as far as I understand, or certain things can come up on you that the prosecutor would then sort of leave open to Congress to deal with, without making an impeachment recommendation or not.

In other words, we could be getting ahead ourselves here, right?

DESANTIS: Yes, we could.

But, Neil, what's the underlying crime in dealing with the campaign? They haven't produced anything involving anyone associated with the campaign. So you're going to subpoena the president to try to answer questions when you have not identified a crime?

CAVUTO: When is this going to be wrapped up, Congressman? What does your gut tell you?

DESANTIS: My gut is saying is that this thing has gone off the rails. I think Rod needs to reel it in. I think Mueller should put up or shut up.

If he doesn't have collusion evidence, then let's move on.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you for taking the time. Good seeing you again.

DESANTIS: Thank you.

CAVUTO: All right.


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