Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will testify before senators next week in a hearing that will give President Donald Trump’s allies a high-profile platform to escalate their attacks on the Russia investigation, the New York Times reports. Rosenstein was a key figure in the inquiry. In 2017, he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel overseeing the investigation into possible links between Russia’s 2016 election interference and Trump associates. Trump has long attacked the investigation and other efforts by national security officials to understand Moscow’s election subversion operations as instead a plot to undercut him.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC), invited Rosenstein to appear before the panel and said he would be the first of several witnesses to testify about the investigation. Rosenstein left the Justice Department in May 2019 and now works at the law firm King & Spalding. Trump has pressured Graham to hold hearings on the Russia investigation and interrogate his perceived enemies. The president has long attacked many of the inquiry’s key figures — including Mueller, former FBI director James Comey and Comey’s deputy, Andrew McCabe — and he has recently ramped up unsubstantiated accusations that former President Barack Obama masterminded a scheme against him. Graham said Rosenstein would address findings in a report by the Justice Department inspector general, Michael Horowitz, that investigators’ applications to wiretap a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page, were riddled with errors and other problems. Rosenstein signed off on one of the renewal applications. He later said he had learned that “even the best law enforcement officers make mistakes, and that some engage in willful misconduct.”