June 3 (UPI) — Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is set to testify in the Senate on Wednesday about the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, in a key appearance long awaited by Republicans who have questioned surveillance efforts on the 2016 Trump campaign.
At the hearing, which begins at 10 a.m. EDT, Rosenstein will testify as to his role in overseeing the department’s investigation into potential collusion with Moscow by members of President Donald Trump‘s campaign during the 2016 election. The two-year investigation was known as “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Rosenstein will testify before the Senate judiciary committee in his first appearance in Congress since he resigned a year ago.
Senate Republicans are expected to focus on how Rosenstein signed off on a warrant application for surveillance against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, as well as his decision to appoint special counsel Robert Mueller to take over the investigation after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
“There’s a lot of water under the bridge since he appointed the special counsel,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. “The FBI basically interfered in the election. So there’s a lot to learn.”
Panel Chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham said the hearing will look into a report on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act courts by the Justice Department inspector general. The report, released in March, found errors in an audit of the FBI’s compliance with factual accuracy review procedures for 29 FISA applications, including some related to surveillance of Page.
Some Senate Democrats have opposed Wednesday’s hearing, characterizing it as a GOP effort to criticize the administration of former President Barack Obama and suggest a conspiracy against Trump.
“They have failed the American people by turning the institutions of the Senate into an extension of the president’s re-election campaign,” Schumer wrote. “[The] Republican chairman of the Senate judiciary committee will hold yet another hearing, not on the pandemic, bot on baseless conspiracy theories related to the 2016 election.”
Mueller said his investigation found no concrete evidence that Trump campaign officials colluded with Russia, but identified multiple “episodes” in which Trump may have obstructed justice by attempting to interfere in the department’s investigation.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before Congress