WASHINGTON (CN) – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray came under intense questioning Thursday about the agency’s conduct during the 2016 presidential campaign during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
Republican lawmakers have been pressing both Rosenstein and Wray to release any and all documents they possess regarding the FBI’s conduct during the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the 2016 presidential campaign.
As the committee met Thursday morning, the House voted 226-183 on a nonbinding resolution to compel the Justice Department to turn over the documents sought by lawmakers. But Rosenstein said even if the measure had been binding, it would have superfluous.
The department has already turned over 880,000 documents of the roughly 1.2 million requested, he said.
“The fact is, I don’t have any control over what measures you vote on, “ Rosenstein told one of the original measure’s authors, Rep. Jordan, R-Ohio. “But if you’re interested in the truth, there are Trump appointees and other members of the [Justice Department] team that are doing their best work to produce documents to you. Whether you vote or not will not affect that work.”
Rosenstein said there are at least 100 staffers working on producing the documents around the clock. Claims levied on him by Rep. Jordan and others that he is “personally” hiding information from Congress is false, he said.
“I am the deputy attorney general of the United States and the accusations that I’m concealing information are not correct. I’m not the person doing the redacting. I have a team with me, sir. And whenever you have brought issues to my attention, I’ve addressed them,” Rosenstein said.
A recent, 568-page report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz on the FBI’s handling of the multiple investigations has sharply divided Republicans and Democrats.
But the findings compiled by Horowitz concluded the FBI was not politically motivated during its investigation of the 2016 election.
On Thursday, it was still the text messages shared between FBI agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, both of whom worked on the Clinton investigation and on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe – the latter, quite briefly – that fueled the fierce contentions in Congress.
GOP lawmakers have frequently suggested the texts proved anti-Trump sentiment which ultimately tainted the investigation’s integrity.
Democrats have argued the text messages, while inappropriate, did not impact any decision prosecutors made not to charge Hillary Clinton with any criminal misconduct nor did it influence Mueller’s probe.
FBI Director Wray pointed out on multiple occasions Thursday that the behavior of Stzrok and Page were in the minority.
Stzrok’s texts, one which said he would “stop” Trump from becoming president, indicated some of the “worst bias than any I’ve ever seen manifest in a law enforcement officer,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina,.
“Democrats are using this investigation as a presumption of guilt and I urge them to return to a presumption of innocence,” Gowdy said.
Roughly 60 democrats have already called for impeachment of Trump, he added.
“Even before an investigation was complete,” Gowdy said. “Whatever you’ve got, finish it the hell up because this country is being torn apart.”
“No one is more offended than I,” Rosenstein said of Stzrok’s messages.
But the suggestions to close any current investigations, like Mueller’s probe into the 2016 election, is something he couldn’t support.
This story is developing.