Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whose appointment of Robert Mueller established the special counsel investigation into Russian Federation interference in the 2016 election, is expected to field tough questions from Senate Republicans Wednesday as the probe has drawn renewed political scrutiny in recent months. They have pointed to newly declassified information to allege Trump and his associates were unfairly pursued and have drawn vindication from the Justice Department's decision to drop its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
The hearing, called by the committee chairman, Sen. His fate was most dramatically in limbo in September 2018 after it was revealed that he had floated the idea of wearing a wire inside the White House to record conversations with Trump, something he'll nearly certainly be asked about Wednesday.
"I decided that appointing a Special Counsel was the best way to complete the investigation appropriately and promote public confidence in its conclusions", Rosenstein is expected to say, according to a release of his opening remarks. It examined about a dozen episodes for potential obstruction of justice by Trump, but did not reach a conclusion as to whether he broke the law, in part because Justice Department policy bars against the indictment of sitting presidents.
Still, the FBI's Russian Federation investigation is likely to be campaign fodder for the general election, as Trump's campaign and congressional Republicans have turned their attention to former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's presumptive 2020 opponent.
In January, the Justice Department said that two of the four so-called "FISA applications" for surveillance of Page, including the final renewal application signed by Rosenstein, lacked enough information to establish probable cause and thus were invalid.
"Every application that I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was supposed to be following protocols to ensure that every fact was verified", Rosenstein told the Senate Judiciary Committee in written testimony.
"Every application that I approved appeared to be justified based on the facts it alleged, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was supposed to be following protocols to ensure that every fact was verified", according to Rosenstein's prepared remarks. The Justice Department moved to dismiss the case last month, saying Flynn's contacts with the diplomat were entirely appropriate and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had insufficient basis to interview him. Rosenstein appointed Mueller in 2017.