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VOL. 44 | NO. 21 | Friday, May 22, 2020

Graham calls Rosenstein as first witness in Russia probe

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify next week at a Senate committee hearing on the Justice Department's Russia investigation, the panel chairman said Wednesday.

Rosenstein will appear Wednesday morning before the Senate Judiciary Committee in the first scheduled oversight hearing of the panel's investigation, said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who leads the committee. The hearings are part of a broader effort by allies of President Donald Trump to call into question decisions and actions made during the Russia investigation.

The Justice Department has launched multiple reviews of the Russia probe, and the Trump administration has recently declassified material aimed at casting Obama administration officials in a negative light.

Rosenstein is a pivotal figure in the Russia investigation. He appointed Robert Mueller in May 2017 as special counsel to investigate potential ties between Russia and Trump's campaign, and oversaw much of his work. In his early weeks on the job, he also signed off on renewing the final application to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

A Justice Department inspector general report concluded that the investigation, which started in July 2016 during the Obama administration, was opened for a proper basis. But it also identified serious mistakes and omissions in the applications targeting Page.

In a statement, Rosenstein said he was grateful for the chance to testify "about information that has come to light concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and the FBI's counterintelligence decision-making."

"During my three decades of service in law enforcement, I learned firsthand that most local, state, and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but also that even the best law enforcement officers make mistakes, and that some engage in willful misconduct," he said.

He added: "Independent law enforcement investigations, judicial review, and congressional oversight are important checks on the discretion of agents and prosecutors. We can only hope to maintain public confidence if we correct mistakes, hold wrongdoers accountable, and adopt policies to prevent problems from recurring."

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