Rod Rosenstein to be first witness in Senate panel’s Russia probe review

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will be the inaugural witness in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the beginnings of the Russia probe.

Rosenstein, who played a critical role in the investigation and appointed then special counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017, will appear next Wednesday before Sen. Lindsey Graham’s panel.

“This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement released Wednesday.

“Crossfire Hurricane” was the name the FBI gave to the investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election.

The initial investigation was launched in July 2016 by the FBI, and Mueller concluded in his report released in April 2019.

Mueller concluded that his investigators found no evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russians.
Rosenstein, who left the Justice Department in May 2019 and is now employed by the law firm King & Spalding, oversaw the Russia investigation after former Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

President Trump has blasted the FBI and its former Director James Comey for launching the investigation into his campaign as a means to discredit his administration in case he won the 2016 election.

Recently, he has said former President Barack Obama was behind the plot, referring to it as “ObamaGate.”

Trump has publicly called on Graham, an ally, to begin an investigation, writing on Twitter earlier this month, “just do it. No more Mr. Nice Guy. No more talk.”

Graham wants Rosenstein to testify about the findings from Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz.

Horowitz testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee last December that his investigation found “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in applications to monitor Trump campaign officials, including Carter Page.

Attorney General William Barr has also appointed US attorney John Durham to investigate the origins of the Russia probe.

And on Wednesday, the Justice Department announced it had appointed John Bash, a US attorney in Texas, to review the “unmasking” process of Trump officials around the time of the 2016 presidential election.

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