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Rep. Ken Buck opposes Freedom Caucus push to impeach Rosenstein

Author: Marianne Goodland - July 26, 2018 - Updated: August 9, 2018

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RosensteinU.S. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Windsor. (Photo courtesy of the congressman’s office)

A Colorado congressman who is a member of the conservative Freedom Caucus in the U.S. House says he didn’t join 11 fellow caucus members in pushing to impeach the Justice Department official who oversees Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Wednesday, 11 House Republicans, all Freedom Caucus members, introduced a resolution containing five articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over his oversight of the Mueller probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election and other matters.

The backers of the resolution says Rosenstein has resisted turning over information on the probe.

Eight of the 11 signatories are public. They include Freedom Caucus chair Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona and Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. The latter three are all members of the House Judiciary Committee, which has been holding hearings into the FBI’s actions during the 2016 election.

(Meadows on Thursday said he was backing away from the push to impeach Rosenstein and instead favors holding him in contempt if he doesn’t produce documents demanded by the House, The Hill reports.)

The other three signatories are so far unknown.

Another member of the Freedom Caucus who also sits on the Judiciary Committee is Rep. Ken Buck, Republican of Windsor. But he told Colorado Politics Thursday he isn’t one of the three mystery members who signed the resolution.

Buck said he doesn’t believe in using the power of impeachment to go after a member of the executive branch, which he called a “publicity stunt.”

“I think it is disingenuous to talk about the Constitution when the Democrats violated it” so freely during the Obama administration, he said. Those violations, Buck believes, included Obamacare, prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision validating the law, and in executive orders such as Waters of the USA, which the Trump administration has since rescinded.

Buck, a former district attorney, added that a”very loose interpretation of the constitution” should not be used in an attempt to impeach an official in the executive branch.

“I want to be true to those beliefs, and not use the power of impeachment as a publicity stunt before we leave and go back to our districts in August and face our constituents.”

Buck’s refusal to sign the resolution comes despite his ties to the other signatories, not just as a member of the Freedom Caucus.

Jordan gave Buck’s 2018 re-election campaign $2,000 in May.

As to caucus chair Meadows, Buck recently backed Meadows in a call of support for fellow caucus member Jordan, who has been accused of ignoring sexual abuse claims made by student wrestlers against a team doctor when Jordan was an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University 20 years ago.

Buck told CNN on July 7 that Jordan’s “integrity and willingness to tackle tough issues for those who don’t have a voice is unmatched by anyone in Congress. It is inconceivable to me that Jim would ignore complaints of sexual abuse by athletes he clearly loved and respected.” Jordan denies the allegations, now made by at least eight former wrestlers.

(Jordan announced Thursday he plans to run for House speaker after Rep. Paul Ryan leaves Congress, assuming Republicans keep control of the House in the November election.)

In the same CNN interview, caucus member Gaetz said the allegations could be retaliation for Jordan’s “intense grilling” of Rosenstein in a June 28 judiciary committee hearing.

The chances that Rosenstein could be impeached are virtually non-existent, given that it would take a majority vote of the House to impeach the deputy AG as well as a two-thirds vote in the Senate to convict.

Ryan also weighed in Thursday, stating he does not support the impeachment effort. Ryan’s disapproval means the resolution will not be voted on before the House adjourns for a five-week recess on July 27.

 

Correction: The start of the House’s recess was July 27. The Senate’s August recess was canceled by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland

Marianne Goodland is the chief legislative reporter for Colorado Politics. She's covered the Colorado General Assembly for 20 years, starting off in 1998 with the Silver & Gold Record, the editorially-independent newspaper at CU that was shuttered in 2009. She also writes for six rural newspapers in northeastern Colorado. Marianne specializes in rural issues, agriculture, water and, during election season, campaign finance. In her free time (ha!) she lives in Lakewood with her husband, Jeff; a cantankerous Shih-Tzu named Sophie; and Gunther the cat. She is also an award-winning professional harpist.