Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, slammed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday for his comments that undermined a Fox News report about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Here’s what Meadows said
Meadows was appearing on Laura Ingraham’s Fox News show alongside Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) when they criticized Sessions for commenting on the “stunning” report from Fox News.
“For the attorney general to say he’s confident that Rod Rosenstein did everything right,” Meadows angrily said, “well, I’m confident he doesn’t know what he’s talking about!”
“I’m here to tell you we’re fed up with it!” he added.
Sessions defends Rosenstein
Meadows was referring to an earlier segment on Fox News where the attorney general told a stunned Tucker Carlson that he didn’t believe Rosenstein had done anything wrong.
“In January of this year, January 10th,” Carlson explained to Sessions, “Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein went up to the hill, met with Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee, had a dispute with them, and threatened them with a subpoena of their emails and phone records.”
“DOJ on background has confirmed that something like that happened,” Carlson said. “What is, what is that about?”
“Well, I don’t know that they’ve confirmed that exactly,” Sessions responded. “In fact, the FBI director, the senior ethics attorney for the Department of Justice who was in the room say that is a mischaracterization, really, of what occurred. And it also, I think indicates that there’s been a breakdown of relationships when in fact, since January a great deal of progress has been made.”
“We understand in this department that we are accountable to the president,” he explained, “we are accountable to Congress, and we need to be cooperative with them to produce as many documents as rationally and as legally and properly as can be produced, to produce them.”
“And we’ve made tremendous progress in that regard really,” he added.
Here’s the video of Sessions on Tucker Carlson’s show:
“Did the deputy attorney general threaten to subpoena the email or phone records of members of the House Intel Committee?” Carlson asked.
“Well, I was not in the room and I can’t speak to what occurred,” Sessions responded. “All I can say is that the people that uh, Chris Wray, the director of the FBI, and our senior ethics attorney was there and others, and did not see it in that same fashion.”
“OK, so as a factual matter you don’t think that that happened?” Carlson asked a third time.
“I’m confident that Deputy Rosenstein, 28 years in the Department of Justice,” Sessions responded, “did not improperly threaten anyone on that occasion. But we do believe that we have tried to be cooperative with them and made progress as the months have gone by.”
“OK,” Carlson responded slowly.
Here’s the video of Meadows slamming Sessions on Fox News:
Ingraham pressed Meadows and Jordan using the justification offered by the Department of Justice that Rosenstein was not threatening them with a criminal investigation, but rather that he was referring to the “discovery” process that would be a part of any legal action against him.
The Department of Justice informed CNN that Rosenstein would be requesting an investigation into the conduct of the staffers who made the accusations.