Democrats and a handful of Republicans responded quickly to oppose impeachment articles against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein brought forth by members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, a founding member, introduced a resolution to impeach Rosenstein late Wednesday but did not file it as a privileged resolution to force a vote by the whole House.
Nine other House conservatives have inked their signatures on the resolution so far: Reps. Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar of Arizona, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, Jody Hice of Georgia, Matt Gaetz and Bill Posey of Florida, Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee and Louie Gohmert of Texas.
Democrats in both chambers panned the move as politically motivated and an obvious effort to undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation into ties between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. It is extremely unlikely the impeachment proposal will move forward.
Watch: Both House Party Leaders Condemn Rosenstein Impeachment Before Meadows Pulls It
“Trying to remove Rod Rosenstein from the Justice Department for failing to disclose sources, methods and evidence from an open criminal investigation is beyond the pale. This is partisan nonsense,” California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said in a statement. “It’s dangerous for the rule of law and it needs to stop.”
Meadows and Jordan’s move is a “clear play to obstruct Mueller’s investigation,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand said.
The New York Democrat urged the Senate to take up a bipartisan bill to shield Mueller from termination by the White House.
By moving to impeach Rosenstein, House Republicans have made a clear play to obstruct Mueller's investigation. The Senate should act immediately to protect the Special Counsel.The American people deserve answers. We can't let this president put himself above the rule of law. https://t.co/Dl0EototRA — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) July 26, 2018
Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut echoed Gillibrand.
Dishonest, dangerous impeachment move against DAG Rosenstein is an undisguised ploy to protect Trump from justice—a brazen threat to Special Counsel. https://t.co/Qz7vUk0jAw— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) July 26, 2018
On the Republican side, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona voiced his disagreement with Meadows and the rest of his cohort who signed on to the impeachment documents.
This Senate Republican does not agree https://t.co/ItTLIHD71n— Jeff Flake (@JeffFlake) July 25, 2018
Most House Republicans have not yet issued public statements on impeaching Rosenstein, though it is unlikely many will support the measure.
GOP Rep. Bruce Poliquin of Maine did not rebuke his colleagues for filing the resolution but said he does not support such a move.
“I maintain that the impartial and independent investigation by Robert Mueller should run its course,” Poliquin tweeted.
I do not support moving to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. I maintain that the impartial and independent investigation by Robert Mueller should run its course. #mepolitics— Rep. Bruce Poliquin (@RepPoliquin) July 26, 2018
California Rep. Adam B. Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, did not hold back on Twitter, saying that “history will record these Members as willing accomplices in the most serious threat to the rule of law in a generation.”
These articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein were filed in bad faith and show extraordinary lengths to which House Republicans will go to protect Trump. History will record these Members as willing accomplices in the most serious threat to the rule of law in a generation. https://t.co/nZvyytfgKk— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 26, 2018
Meadows’ impeachment proposal isn’t the first time House members have thrown out the “I” word since President Donald Trump took office.
Fifty-eight House Democrats voted to move forward with impeachment articles on the president last year, an effort that fell flat in the face of opposition from leadership in both parties.