Rod Rosenstein Could Face Impeachment If Donald Trump Doesn't Fire Him, Republican Warns

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could face articles of impeachment unless he agrees to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, said Republican Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida on Monday.

Gaetz based his threat on the Friday New York Times report that said Rosenstein had allegedly spoken about secretly recording President Donald Trump, and then recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

Gaetz said he and Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows were prepared to call for Rosenstein's impeachment and "force a vote."

"If our leadership will not put Rod Rosenstein in that witness chair so the American people can get answers, Mark Meadows and I are prepared to call up his impeachment and force a vote," Gaetz told Fox Business.

The Times cited one unnamed Justice Department spokesperson as saying Rosenstein had only talked "sarcastically" about recording Trump, while Rosenstein has categorically denied the report.

Whether Rosenstein was serious or not, Gaetz said it was "inappropriate" that Rosenstein would even mention recording the president.

"It is inappropriate for the deputy attorney general of the United States to even be joking about wearing a wire on the president in the presence of colleagues and subordinates," Gaetz said. "I think Rod Rosenstein needs to be in the witness chair this week in the House Judiciary Committee. He needs to go under oath and explain these circumstances."

.@mattgaetz: "I think Rod Rosenstein needs to be in the witness chair this week in the House Judiciary Committee. He needs to go under oath and explain these circumstances." #Dobbs pic.twitter.com/RfCDj9r5M9

— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) September 24, 2018

The Freedom Caucus, which consists of the most conservative members of the House, drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein in April, according to The Washington Post. Though they were never filed, the articles came about as congressional Republicans battled the Justice Department and Rosenstein over the release of documents and other materials pertaining to the how the Trump-Russia investigation had initiated.

Meadows made a similar threat toward Rosenstein in July, while appearing on Fox News.

"And quite frankly, it's either we hold them in contempt or we get the documents or we impeach them," Meadows said. "And the only thing we have control over is to bring impeachment straight to the floor."

Rosenstein was the subject of numerous and conflicting reports Monday over his future as the No. 2 at the Justice Department. It was first reported that he had submitted a verbal resignation to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, but other sources said Rosenstein's possible exit had been discussed over the weekend.

Later, reports stated Rosenstein had headed to the White House on Monday expecting to be fired. He was not, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Rosenstein and Trump had spoken Monday and would continue their talks on Thursday.

rosenstein impeachment house threat testifies
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves his home on September 25, in Bethesda, Maryland. Representative Matt Gaetz of Florida has warned that Rosenstein could face impeachment if he refuses to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla