A key figure behind the US investigation into links between Russia and President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign will testify next week before a Republican-led Senate committee examining the origins of the probe, the panel said on May 27. Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed former Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2017, will testify on June 3 as part of a Senate Judiciary Committee examination of an FBI probe of Trump campaign officials code-named “Crossfire Hurricane,” which led to the Mueller investigation. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of President Trump’s strongest congressional allies, said Rosenstein would offer “new revelations” about federal surveillance practices.
President Donald Trump and his Republican allies have long claimed that the Trump-Russia probe was intended to undermine his candidacy and presidency, whereas supporters of the investigation note that there is clear and convincing evidence that members of the 2016 Trump campaign conspired with Russian President Vladimir Putin to release damaging information against Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a way to sway the election in Trump’s favor. In December of 2019, a Justice Department watchdog found evidence of numerous errors but no political bias when the FBI opened the probe. “Even the best law enforcement officers make mistakes and … some engage in willful misconduct,” Rosenstein said in a statement announcing his senate testimony. “We can only hope to maintain public confidence if we correct mistakes, hold wrongdoers accountable and adopt policies to prevent problems from recurring,” he added.
The Rosenstein hearing is set a day before the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote whether to subpoena Rosenstein, former FBI Director James Comey, and other former top officials from the Obama administration, as part of its probe. The panel’s top Democrat, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), has sharply criticized the committee investigation as an effort to attack President Donald Trump political rival Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. The Mueller probe found that Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 election to boost Trump’s candidacy and that the Trump campaign had numerous contacts with Russians. But Mueller concluded that there was not enough evidence to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.