Norm Eisen, the former chief White House ethics lawyer for the Barack Obama administration, and Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21 on Friday accused Republican Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH) of violating the House of Representatives’ code of conduct after the pair threatened to file articles of impeachment against deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In an op-ed for USA Today, Eisen and Wertheimer write that “throughout our nation’s history, the House has recognized that impeachment power was not intended to be used for political, partisan or ideological purposes.” but warned the GOP congressmen’s impeachment threat—though unlikely to result in impeachment proceedings against Rosenstein—nonetheless threatens the rule of law.
Eisen and Wertheimer note Rostenstein’s “supposed offense” was that he “had the temerity to refuse to throw open Justice Department files related to special counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing criminal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.”
“Members of Congress simply have no business injecting themselves into the middle of a Justice Department criminal investigation,” Eisen and Wertheimer said. “Such actions can seriously undermine the investigation and provide assistance to its subjects and targets.”
The pair said the demands from “House GOP Trump enablers” are “part of a transparent effort to attack and discredit the special counsel investigation.”
“Shortly after Meadows and Jordan met with Rosenstein to pressure him on obtaining documents, Meadows reportedly spoke to President Trump. Meadows refused to reveal the details of the conversation,” Eisen and Wertheimer wrote.
Arguing that “Meadows, Jordan and their coterie are out to protect Trump at all costs,” Eisen and Wertheimer said “they also apparently are out to provide phony cover for Trump to fire Rosenstein or Mueller in the event he decides to do this.”
According to the legal experts: “The actions of Meadows, Jordan and their ilk constitute a gross abuse of their offices. They are attempting to misuse the impeachment process as a weapon for intimidation of Justice Department officials and to pervert the process in a manner never envisioned by the Founding Fathers or previously undertaken by the House.”
“This time they are out to sabotage the Mueller Russia investigation at any cost,” the paid added. “And to do so they are directly attacking a rule-of-law principle by attempting to interfere with an executive branch criminal investigation.”
Further, they argue that Jordan and Meadows are violating the Code of Official Conduct of the House of Representatives indicating they "shall behave at all times in a manner which shall reflect creditably on the House.”
“Meadows and Jordan have violated this ethics rule and should be held accountable by their House colleagues for bringing discredit on the institution in which they serve,” Eisen and Wertheimer said.