The Slatest

House Republicans Decide Against Impeaching Rod Rosenstein in Outbreak of Suspiciously Noninsane Behavior

Meadows stands at a lectern with flags behind him.
North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows speaks as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz looks on at a Capitol Hill news conference on May 22.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

On Wednesday, North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, and nine other members of the right-wing House Freedom Caucus introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, accusing him of stonewalling their efforts to investigate/sabotage Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation. The impeachment bill is not the most legally thorough document, including among its allegations the charge that Rosenstein—a Trump appointee—misused the so-called Steele dossier “in October 2016,” which savvy insiders will identify as being a month that occurred during the Obama administration.

Even typically doormatlike lame-duck Speaker Paul Ryan was critical of the move, calling it a “cavalier” use of the impeachment process, and on Thursday, Ryan and other party leaders brokered an agreement with Meadows and Jordan that will keep their proposal, at least for now, from coming up for a vote that would force members in tight re-election races to choose between alienating the GOP base and alienating Trump-skeptical swing voters. Specifically, Meadows and Jordan agreed not to file their bill as a “privileged” resolution, which would mean it had to be voted on within two days. In exchange, party leaders will support their demands that Rosenstein and the DOJ turn over particular documents related to the Russia-Trump investigation. If Rosenstein doesn’t comply, a vote will be held on whether to find him in contempt of Congress:

Despite the agreement, Politico says, Meadows “noted he still has impeachment as an option in his arsenal and hasn’t taken it off the table if his demands aren’t met by September.” So this could still get real exciting.