Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) was scolded by a Republican committee chairman Wednesday as she grilled law enforcement and intelligence officials on the Russia probe.
The California Democrat sought assurances from deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein that he would allow special counsel Robert Mueller to fully and independently investigate possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia.
“You indicated in your statement that you chose a person who exercises a ‘degree’ of independence — not full independence — from the normal chain of command,” Harris said.
She asked Rosenstein whether he would issue a letter to Mueller assuring him of full independence, as James Comey had while serving as acting attorney general to the special counsel investigating the unmasking of a CIA agent.
“Senator, I’m very sensitive about time, and I would like to have a very lengthy conversation on this and explain this all to you,” Rosenstein said. “I tried to do that in the closed briefing.”
Harris asked if he could simply answer yes or no, and Rosenstein insisted there was no short answer for her question.
“Either you are willing to do that or not,” she said.
Then Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) broke in and asked the committee chairman to direct Harris to let Rosenstein speak.
Rosenstein staked his own reputation and Mueller’s reputation on the case, and Harris said she simply wanted his assurance in writing.
“Are you willing or are you not willing to give him the authority to be fully independent of your ability, statutorily and legally, to fire him?” Harris said. “Yes or no, sir?”
Rosenstein said regulations gave Mueller full independence, and Harris again asked if he could give his assurance in writing, as his predecessors had — and the committee chairman interrupted her.
“Would the senator suspend?” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. “The chair is going to exercise its right to allow the witnesses to answer the question, and the committee is on notice to provide the witnesses the courtesy, which has not been extended all of the way across, the courtesy for questions to get answered.”
Harris pointed out that Rosenstein had joked about his ability to filibuster, and the deputy attorney general interjected to say he had not been joking.
Rosenstein then gave a lengthy answer, as Harris’s time for questions ran out, without offering explicit testimony that he would offer written assurance of Mueller’s independence.
“So is that a no?” Harris said, as the chairman called on the next senator for questioning.
Deputy gets called out after sporting ‘extremist’ symbols at Black Lives Matter protest – and then gets put on leave
A California sheriff's deputy who was working the scene of a protest is under investigation for wearing a patch with symbols depicting what the Orange County Sheriff's Office describes as "extremist groups."
Image that surfaced online this Wednesday show a deputy wearing a patch with the symbols of the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters, which are known to be right-wing anti-government militias, Voice of OC reports.
Secretary of the Army reminds soldiers that they swore an oath to uphold the Constitution — all of it
The secretary of the U.S. Army was forced to come out and remind soldiers that even if they're called up supplement police forces in cities around the U.S. that they still must abide by their oath to uphold the Constitution.
In a Twitter statement Thursday, Ryan McCarthy posted a video of himself speaking to troops saying that peaceful protests are fine and that the soldiers are there to "protect that ideal."
"Every Soldier and Department of the Army Civilian swears an oath to support and defend the Constitution. That includes the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for a redress of grievances," he said in the tweet.
Lindsey Graham lashes out at Mattis for criticizing Trump — and suggests he’s been duped by the ‘liberal media’
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday lashed out at Gen. James Mattis, President Donald Trump's former Defense secretary.
Writing an op-ed in The Atlantic on Wednesday, Mattis highlighted the president's tendency toward fascism and authoritarianism. It prompted Graham to tell the general he doesn't know what he's talking about.
"To General Mattis, I think you're missing something here, my friend. You're missing the fact that the liberal media has taken every event in the last three-and-a-half years and laid it at the president's feet," Graham said on Fox News, according to Axios.