House Republicans and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will not meet this week to talk about a report that he tried to organize a coup attempt against President Trump, further inflaming tensions between the two sides even as Trump appears to have made his peace with Rosenstein.
Several press reports speculated that GOP lawmakers and Rosenstein would meet Thursday, but a House Judiciary Committee aide told the Washington Examiner that the committee has yet to confirm a date.
“We have many questions for Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and expect answers to those questions,” the aide said. “Nevertheless, we will continue to provide updates as we have them.”
Details about the possible sit-down with lawmakers, such as whether it would be a transcribed, an under-oath interview, or an informal meeting, were unknown and unconfirmed, and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., never officially set a date for the meeting.
Goodlatte and his Republican colleagues still want to ask Rosenstein about a report that he discussed secretly wiretapping the president in an effort to possibly invoke the 25th Amendment against him.
[More: Paul Ryan suggests Rosenstein's denials about a Trump coup attempt are credible]
In addition, Republican lawmakers on both the House Judiciary and House Oversight committees have alleged Rosenstein and the Justice Department have slow-walked their request for documents as they continue their investigation into actions the Justice Department and FBI did and did not take ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller and his investigation into Russia's election interference.
A source on the committee said Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm that commissioned the Trump-Russia dossier, will also be interviewed, as well as Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr.
Republicans still seem intent on pressing Rosenstein for answers to their questions even after Trump said he had no plans to fire Rosenstein after the two traveled on Air Force One to Florida for a speech.
Rank-and-file Republicans are not letting go, and some were angry that the tentative Thursday hearing would not happen. Rep. Matt Gaetz tweeted Wednesday that he had flown from Florida to Washington to speak to Rosenstein on Thursday.
"Chairman Goodlatte has been playing 'hide and seek' with some of us on the interview scheduling for several weeks now," the Florida Republican tweeted.
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., called for Rosenstein to be subpoenaed to make him appear before the committees.
“Rosenstein has again failed to cooperate with congressional leaders. The Judiciary Committee must now subpoena him to appear. His obstinance should not be rewarded with more delays,” said Biggs, who accused Rosenstein of “stonewalling” their investigation.
Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the conservative House Freedom Caucus, called the decision “disappointing.”
“The choice before [the Justice Department] is clear: show up, answer questions, and be a part of the solution; or refuse transparency and continue being a part of the cover up,” the Republican from North Carolina said in a statement. “At this point, if the Deputy Attorney General will not show up voluntarily, it is abundantly clear we need to subpoena him. Failure to compel testimony on these questions would amount to a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress.”
The committees have interviewed a handful of witnesses on their ongoing investigation, including former FBI general counsel James Baker.
Rosenstein reportedly discussed wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with Trump, after which two top officials in the meeting, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, told Baker, who reportedly took it seriously.
In response to the New York Times report, Rosenstein dismissed the allegations: “I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."