Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, saying he has "the highest confidence" in him one day after House conservatives introduced a resolution to impeach the deputy attorney general overseeing the special counsel Russia investigation.
"My deputy Rod Rosenstein is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him," Sessions said during a news conference in Boston when asked about the impeachment effort against Rosenstein.
On Wednesday, GOP Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan took aim at Rosenstein by introducing a resolution to impeach. The move escalates an ongoing feud some House Republicans have had with the Justice Department, which they have accused of withholding key information from Congress.
The resolution on its own does not mean that the House is on the verge of voting to impeach the deputy attorney general, and conservative House members agreed Thursday morning to holding off on a vote to impeach Rosenstein until after the August recess.
Sessions suggested on Thursday that Congress should focus on other issues instead of targeting his deputy.
"What I would like Congress to do is to focus on some of the legal challenges that are out there. We need Congress to deal with the immigration question," said Sessions, a former Alabama senator. "There are loopholes in our laws that are being exploited. We need to get them focused and we are pleading with them to do so. Our job and our enforcement officers' jobs are far more difficult than they need to be. Common sense legislation can make a big difference. That is where I'd like to see them focus their time."
Former deputy attorney general Sally Yates, an Obama appointee, went further in criticizing the push to impeach Rosenstein on Thursday, calling it "absurd," on Twitter and saying that it will "undoubtedly fail."
"While the absurd threat to impeach Rod Rosenstein will undoubtedly fail, using the Department of Justice as a prop for political theater does lasting damage to this vital democratic institution. The men and women of DOJ and the people of our country deserve better," Yates tweeted.