House Speaker Paul D. Ryan threw cold water Thursday on the new effort to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, saying the move could even end up hurting the chances of confirming President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination.
A group of conservatives introduced articles of impeachment against Mr. Rosenstein earlier this week, saying he should be removed from office because he’s stonewalled Congress’ efforts to get documents lawmakers are seeking into how the Justice Department conducted its probes into Hillary Clinton’s emails and Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Mr. Ryan said those document requests are valid and must be answered — but he said targeting Mr. Rosenstein was not the answer.
“I don’t think this rises to the level of high crime or misdemeanor,” Mr. Ryan said.
He cautioned fellow lawmakers not to be “cavalier” with impeachment.
Mr. Ryan also warned conservatives against derailing their own agenda.
He said if the House were to impeach Mr. Rosenstein, it would force the Senate to quickly take up the matter, bringing most other business to a halt. Mr. Ryan said that could hinder the push to have Judge Brett Kavanaugh confirmed to the Supreme Court by October.
From the political left, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also blasted the impeachment effort, saying it was really an effort to try to undercut the ongoing special counsel’s probe into Russian election meddling and possible wrongdoing by President Trump.
Mrs. Pelosi also suggested the move was a way for Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, to distract from accusations from his past.
Mr. Jordan has been accused of turning a blind eye to sexual abuse of Ohio State University wrestlers during his time as an assistant coach.
Mr. Jordan is one of the leaders of the impeachment effort, and on Thursday also announced a run for the speaker’s post next year. Mr. Ryan is stepping down from Congress.
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