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Graham calls Rosenstein as first witness in Russia inquiry

UPDATED: Wed., May 27, 2020

In this Feb. 25, 2019 photo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) event on the rule of law in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
In this Feb. 25, 2019 photo, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) event on the rule of law in Washington. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)
By Eric Tucker Associated Press

WASHINGTON – Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify next week at a Senate committee hearing on the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, the committee chairman said Wednesday.

The session Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee is the first in a series of planned oversight hearings focused on the investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The hearings are part of a broader effort by allies of President Donald Trump to call into question decisions and actions made during the Russia investigation.

The Justice Department has undertaken multiple reviews of the Russia probe, and the Trump administration has recently declassified material with an apparent goal of placing Obama administration officials under scrutiny.

Rosenstein is a pivotal figure in the Russia investigation.

He appointed Robert Mueller in May 2017 as special counsel to investigate potential ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign, and oversaw much of Mueller’s work. In his first months on the job, Rosenstein also signed off on renewing the FBI’s applications to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded in a December report that the investigation, which started in July 2016 during the Obama administration, was opened for a legitimate basis. But he also identified serious mistakes and omissions in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act applications that targeted Page.

Graham said Rosenstein would testify about “the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters.”

In a statement, Rosenstein said he was grateful for the opportunity to testify “about information that has come to light” related to the FISA process and the FBI’s counterintelligence decision-making.

“During my three decades of service in law enforcement, I learned firsthand that most local, state, and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but also that even the best law enforcement officers make mistakes, and that some engage in willful misconduct,” he said.

He added: “Independent law enforcement investigations, judicial review, and congressional oversight are important checks on the discretion of agents and prosecutors. We can only hope to maintain public confidence if we correct mistakes, hold wrongdoers accountable, and adopt policies to prevent problems from recurring.”

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