Rosenstein to testify as first witness in Senate Judiciary’s Russia probe

Former acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be the first witness to testify in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the origins of the Russia probe.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced Wednesday that Rosenstein is scheduled to testify before the committee on June 3 at 10:00 a.m.


The hearing, according to the committee, will be titled “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1.”

“Crossfire Hurricane” is the FBI’s internal code name for the bureau’s original investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign were colluding with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election. That investigation was launched by the FBI in July 2016. Former special counsel Robert Mueller’s team eventually announced that it found no evidence of coordination.

“Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters,” Graham said in a statement Wednesday. “This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.”

Rosenstein is the first witness called to testify before the panel as part of its investigation, which Graham laid out the parameters for earlier this month. Graham noted that the committee will, among other things, look at “whether Robert Mueller should have ever been appointed as special counsel.”

Rosenstein, in May 2017, appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Rosenstein also penned the “scope memo” for Mueller’s investigation in August 2017, which outlined the authority of Mueller. Earlier this month, the memo was released in full, and revealed for the first time that Mueller’s authority went significantly beyond what was previously known.


Previously, it had been revealed that in May 2017, Rosenstein authorized Mueller to probe “i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; [and] iii) any other matters within the scope of [obstruction of justice laws].”

But, Rosenstein’s later August 2017 scope memo had remained largely redacted. The newly released version of the document makes clear that Rosenstein didn’t hesitate to explicitly authorize a deep-dive criminal probe into the Trump team that extended well beyond Russian interference efforts.

The newly released version of the 2017 scope memo further makes clear that Mueller could look into whether Michael Flynn “committed a crime or crimes by engaging in conversations with Russian government officials during the period of the Trump transition.”

Additionally, the scope memo stated that Mueller was charged specifically with investigating whether several former Trump officials — including Carter Page, Papadopoulos and Paul Manafort — had “committed a crime or crimes by colluding with Russian government officials with respect to the Russian government’s efforts to interfere with the 2016 election for President of the United States.”

Meanwhile, Rosenstein is slated to testify the day before the committee votes on a slew of subpoenas for documents and testimony from top Obama officials. That vote is expected to take place on June 4.

The potential subpoenas would cover documents, communications and witness testimony in a public setting or behind closed doors for any “current or former executive branch official or employee involved in the ‘Crossfire Hurricane’ investigation.”

Graham is seeking testimony from former FBI Director James Comey, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and others.


The subpoena authorizations would also cover any documents, communications and testimony “related to any aforementioned matter” from current and former officials, including Trisha Anderson, James Baker, Dana Boenta, Mary McCord, Andrew McCabe, Loretta Lynch, Jonathan Moffa, Bruce Ohr, Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, Joseph Pientka, John Podesta, Samantha Power, Susan Rice, Rod Rosenstein, Bill Priestap, and Sally Yates among others.

The authorizations would also cover individuals involved in the Steele Dossier, including Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and Nellie Ohr.

Graham announced earlier this month that his investigation would specifically focus on unmasking, abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel in May 2017.

Graham said that his panel will “begin holding multiple, in-depth congressional hearings regarding all things related to Crossfire Hurricane starting in early June.”

The first phase of the panel’s investigation “will deal with the government’s decision to dismiss” the case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, as well as “an in-depth analysis of the unmasking requests made by Obama Administration officials against Gen. Flynn.”

Graham said the second area of inquiry for the committee would take place later this summer, and would be focused on Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuses outlined by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Graham said that section of his investigation would focus on the FISA warrants obtained against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.

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