Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denied under oath he had threatened to subpoena congressional aides’ communications, but a DOJ spokesman had already admitted that was true in statements to multiple news outlets, claiming it was justified.
“Rosenstein threatened to ‘subpoena’ GOP-led committee in ‘chilling’ clash over records, emails show,” reported Catherine Herridge at Fox News. She quoted from multiple e-mails congressional staff sent to the House of Representatives’ Office of General Counsel after a January 2018 meeting with Rosenstein:
‘The DAG [Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein] criticized the Committee for sending our requests in writing and was further critical of the Committee’s request to have DOJ/FBI do the same when responding,’ the committee’s then-senior counsel for counterterrorism Kash Patel wrote to the House Office of General Counsel. ‘Going so far as to say that if the Committee likes being litigators, then ‘we [DOJ] too [are] litigators, and we will subpoena your records and your emails,’ referring to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence] and Congress overall.’
A second House committee staffer at the meeting backed up Patel’s account, writing: ‘Let me just add that watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening. … Also, having the nation’s #1 (for these matters) law enforcement officer threaten to ‘subpoena your calls and emails’ was downright chilling.’
The Department of Justice confirmed that Rosenstein “put them on notice to retain relevant emails and text messages, and he hopes they did so.” The Justice spokesperson said Rosenstein “never threatened anyone in the room with a criminal investigation,” which hadn’t been claimed, but that the “Deputy Attorney General was making the point—after being threatened with contempt—that as an American citizen charged with the offense of contempt of Congress, he would have the right to defend himself, including requesting production of relevant emails and text messages and calling them as witnesses to demonstrate that their allegations are false.” (Read more from “Somebody at DOJ Isn’t Telling the Truth About Rosenstein’s Subpoena Threats Against Congressional Staff” HERE)