Law & the Courts

Rosenstein to Testify to Senate Committee Probing Russiagate Origins

Attorney General William Barr (R) listens to Rod J. Rosenstein’s remarks at a Justice Department African American History Month event in Washington, D.C., February 26, 2019. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

Former acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify next week to the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of committee Republicans’ probe into the origins of the FBI’s Russia investigation.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, announced Wednesday that Rosenstein is slated to testify before lawmakers on June 3 during the first public hearing of the committee’s probe. He will be the first witness to testify as part of the investigation.

“This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation,” Graham said, referring to te FBI’s name for the investigation into whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia leading up to the 2016 election.

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

Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a report in December on the FBI’s handling of the Russia investigation that concluded agents failed to inform the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the controversial Steele dossier, cited in applications to spy on Trump campaign associate Carter Page during the 2016 election, was unreliable. Rosenstein signed off on the third application to renew the FISA warrant to spy on Page.

The FBI’s Russian investigation was initiated in July, 2016 and eventually led to Rosenstein appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May, 2017, a decision Graham said the committee will examine.

Rosenstein also outlined the broad scope of Mueller’s investigation in a memo, which among other things granted the special counsel authority to probe whether former national security adviser Michael Flynn “committed a crime or crimes by engaging in conversations with Russian government officials during the period of the Trump transition.” The former acting attorney general also tapped Mueller to investigate whether former Trump officials Carter Page, George Papadopoulos, and Paul Manafort colluded with Russian officials in a criminal manner.

Rosenstein said in a statement that he is “grateful” for the opportunity to testify about “information that has come to light concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and the FBI’s counterintelligence decision-making.”

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