BigNews.Biz - Mar 09,2017 - Grassley at Deputy Attorney General Nomination Hearing: Any Talk of Special Counsel is Premature at Best
Prepared Statement by Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Hearing on the Nominations of Rod Rosenstein to be U.S. Deputy Attorney General
and Rachel Brand to be U.S. Associate Attorney General
Good morning. I’m pleased to hold this nominations hearing for two outstanding nominees, Rod Rosenstein and Rachel Brand. They’ve been nominated to two important senior positions in the Department of Justice: the Deputy Attorney General and the Associate Attorney General. The Deputy Attorney General, who is the second-in-command at the Department, oversees its day-to-day operations. The Associate Attorney General oversees the Department’s civil litigating departments. It’s critical that we fill these two important positions so the Department can operate at full capacity.
And we couldn’t have two better nominees for these positions. Mr. Rosenstein and Ms. Brand share a lot in common. They’re both dedicated civil servants. They’ve both been confirmed by the Senate before—in Ms. Brand’s case, twice. And they’ve both served in Senate-confirmed positions during President Obama’s administration. They’re both extraordinarily talented and fair-minded lawyers dedicated to the full and even-handed enforcement of our laws. And they will serve the Department with distinction.
Mr. Rosenstein has served the Department for more than three decades. President Bush appointed him to be United States Attorney for Maryland. He continued to serve in that position throughout President Obama’s entire two terms in office. I’m sure Senators Cardin and Van Hollen will speak to his accomplishments in this role. And I’d also like to submit for the record a letter from former Senator Mikulski supporting his nomination.
Now, with respect to Mr. Rosenstein’s nomination, I have a few things to say about the Attorney General’s announcement last week and the supplemental testimony he sent us yesterday.
During his confirmation, Attorney General Sessions told this Committee what he would do if a specific matter arose where he believed his impartiality might be questioned.
He said he would consult with Justice Department professionals and listen to their advice. And to those who questioned his independence from the President, Attorney General Sessions proved them wrong already too, by recusing himself. Last week, he kept his word. Unlike Attorney General Lynch, Attorney General Sessions recused himself.
His recusal means that if there is any ongoing matter that deals with the Trump campaign, it will be handled by the Deputy Attorney General.
So, if Mr. Rosenstein is confirmed, the responsibility for any decisions would fall to him. Already, I’ve heard some calls from the other side that a special counsel should be appointed to take over instead. Any talk of a special counsel is premature at best.
More importantly, any insinuation that Mr. Rosenstein lacks the impartiality or professionalism necessary to handle these matters is out of line. He’s a career civil servant who has served with distinction during both the Bush and Obama administrations. His independence is beyond