A group of 11 House conservatives introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The move came Wednesday after months of criticism aimed at the department — and the Russia investigation in particular — from President Donald Trump and his Republican allies in Congress.
Trump has fumed about Mueller’s probe and repeatedly called it a “witch hunt,” a refrain echoed by some conservatives lawmakers. The impeachment effort is led by North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, who talks to Trump frequently and often defends him to his colleagues.
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Meadows, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan and the other Republicans who introduced the resolution have criticized Rosenstein and Justice Department officials for not being responsive enough as House committees have requested documents related to the beginning of the Russia investigation and a closed investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
The introduction does not trigger an immediate vote, but Meadows could make procedural moves on the House floor that could force a vote late this week or when the House returns in September from its upcoming recess. The House is scheduled to leave Thursday for the five-week recess.
The five articles charge Rosenstein of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for failing to produce information to the committees.
The resolution also goes directly after Rosenstein for his role in the ongoing Mueller investigation, criticizing him for refusing to produce a memo that outlines the scope of that investigation and questioning whether the investigation was started on legitimate grounds.
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In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein’s conduct is “reprehensible.”
“It’s time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency,” Meadows said.
The impeachment resolution came about two hours after GOP lawmakers met with Justice Department officials about the documents. Meadows said after that meeting that there was still “frustration” with how the department has handled the oversight requests.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said she had no comment on the articles of impeachment. Rosenstein has overseen the Russia investigation since last year, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe following reports of his meeting with the Russian ambassador.
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In addition to Meadows and Jordan, the Republican lawmakers who sponsored the impeachment articles are: Reps. Jody Hice of Georgia, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Andy Biggs of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee, Paul Gosar of Arizona, Bill Posey of Florida and Scott Perry of Pennsylvania.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.