Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein doesn't give many press interviews. But he did, on Wednesday, invite a Wall Street Journal reporter to the Justice Department for what the Journal called an "expansive" conversation.

Rosenstein talked about the Robert Mueller Trump-Russia special counsel investigation, calling it "appropriate and independent." He stressed that he serves at the pleasure of the president. He said he tries to avoid media speculation about both the investigation and his job.

Rosenstein had time to discuss a lot of things. One thing apparently not mentioned in the interview was the fact that, at that very moment, Rosenstein was putting off appearing before the House Judiciary-Oversight task force that wants to question him, not just about the Trump-Russia investigation, but about reports that he last year suggested wearing a wire to secretly record President Trump in the White House and that he also discussed invoking the 25th Amendment in an effort to remove the president from office.

Republicans thought that Rosenstein had agreed to talk with them last week. Then they learned he would not show. That prompted House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., to threaten a subpoena.

"It is essential that we talk to him — he knows that," Goodlatte told Fox News Saturday. "He has not agreed to come for a transcribed interview on the record. He needs to do that, and if he does not agree to do that very soon, I will issue a subpoena for him to appear."

Now Republicans learn that, even as they were trying unsuccessfully to arrange for Rosenstein to appear, he had time for that chat with the Journal. They're not happy.

"In speaking to media outlets while running from Congress, Mr. Rosenstein has made his priorities clear," Republican Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said in an emailed statement Wednesday night. "Transparency is not one of them."

"He is obligated," added Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in a phone conversation. "When the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your department asks you to come and answer questions, you are obligated to do so."

[Rod Rosenstein: 'We have been very busy' at DOJ]

Other Republicans saw a strategy behind Rosenstein's stall. Over the past 18 months, Republicans have given Rosenstein fits with their efforts to uncover the FBI's and Justice Department's role in investigating Donald Trump, both during the campaign and after. Rosenstein has resisted congressional demands for documents. He has angrily pushed back against oversight.

And now, with the midterm elections coming up in less than three weeks, and with predictions that Republicans will lose control of the House, some in the GOP suspect Rosenstein is trying to wait Republicans out. If Democrats win, Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte will become chairman Nadler. Oversight Committee chairman Gowdy will become chairman Cummings. Intelligence Committee chairman Nunes will become chairman Schiff.

"Rosenstein is trying to run out the clock, hoping the Democrats win control of the House and knowing he'll never be called to account for anything if they do," Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a text exchange Wednesday night. "Instead of investigating the violation of Americans' civil liberties by powerful officials like him, he knows the Democrats would focus on concocting more ridiculous conspiracy theories to feed to the media and to the special counsel."

Whatever Rosenstein is doing, time will certainly run out for the current Congress. If the GOP keeps the House, Goodlatte and the others remain in control of their committees and will likely increase the pressure on Rosenstein. But if the GOP loses the House, that pressure goes away. With the possibility of change so near, some Republicans suspect they won't see Rosenstein on the Hill before the midterms, even as he finds time to talk to the press.