Republican leaders have agreed to call in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for a closed-door hearing with Republicans to discuss reports that he tried to orchestrate a coup against President Trump.
GOP lawmakers were already pushing for more clarity from the Justice Department about their unfulfilled requests for documents relating to how the department decided to investigate a former Trump campaign operative.
But in light of a New York Times report that Rosenstein mulled wearing a wire in a meeting with Trump, and considered organizing Trump's removal under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, Republicans said Rosenstein should have to answer to Congress.
Members of the House Freedom Caucus said Rosenstein should either testify or resign his post. And on Monday morning, Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said GOP leaders agreed to ensure he testifies.
"Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rostenstein before Congress, for a closed door hearing without panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on 'wiring' POTUS — as well as other inconsistent statements," Meadows tweeted Friday morning.
"If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him," he added. A date for the meeting has not been set.
Leadership has agreed to call Rod Rosenstein before Congress, for a closed door hearing with our panel investigating, so he can explain his alleged comments on "wiring" POTUS--as well as other inconsistent statements.— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 28, 2018
If Mr. Rosenstein fails to show up, we will subpoena him.
But Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., tweeted that Republicans have no right to hold a private hearing without Democrats, and said he would insist that Democrats be allowed to participate.
"There is no such thing as a 'closed, privatehearing," tweeted Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee. "I will demand that @SpeakerRyan give us access to that meeting."
President Trump and Rosenstein were expected to meet soon to clear the air after the reports of Rosenstein's interest in a coup attempt against Trump. But while initial reports said Rosenstein might be fired, Trump said this week that he would prefer to have Rosenstein stay on, and several reports said that seemed the most likely result.
Rosenstein has dismissed the New York Times report as inaccurate, and that report itself quoted one source saying that Rosenstein only joked about wearing a wire in a meeting with Trump.
Trump and Rosenstein were originally set to meet Thursday, but that meeting was delayed because of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's Senate testimony about claims he sexually assaulted a woman while in high school.
[More: Paul Ryan suggests Rosenstein's denials about a Trump coup attempt are credible]