House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said Sunday it was not the Justice Department's demand to exclude lawmakers from next week's transcribed interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
During an interview on Fox News, Goodlatte pushed back against the complaints of some of his colleagues claiming they were blocked and that Rosenstein was essentially able to establish the rules of the discussion.
"No, they are not blocked at all," Goodlatte told Fox Business anchor Maria Bartiromo, hosting her Fox News program "Sunday Morning Futures."
"Chairman Gowdy and I have made it very clear to the other members of our task force we will ask any questions they put forward to us, and this in fact was a proposal that Chairman [Trey] Gowdy and I put forward in order to get a full, transparent discussion in a closed room where you have the opportunity to ask any question that needs to be asked and not have concerns about it not being in a classified setting and not be concerned about leaks," he added.
[Byron York: Rosenstein talks to press, but not to Congress; Republicans irate]
Last week Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Gowdy, R-S.C., announced the interview, detailing how they and their respective Democratic ranking members, Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., would ask the Justice Department's No. 2 official questions on Oct. 24 in a secure setting under oath.
Goodlatte stressed that the conditions for the interview were proposed by himself and Gowdy, not the Justice Department. "That was our proposal," he said.
Rosenstein has been subject to GOP scrutiny for a number of matters, including document requests, surveillance requests, and most recently a reporting that said Rosenstein talked about secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to oust the president after FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017. Rosenstein denied considering such actions, and follow-up reports said he was being sarcastic or joking about the "wire."
Certain conservative lawmakers, notably Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, tweeted last week, following Goodlatte and Gowdy's announcement of the interview set-up, that they were being excluded from the discussion, citing a "double standard" for a top-ranking official.