Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified Wednesday before the House Judiciary Committee for an oversight hearing.
Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel after President Trump decided to fire FBI Director James Comey in May. Mueller has been overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Mr. Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, recently pleaded guilty to one count of lying to the FBI. The president's former 2016 campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, Manafort's former business associate, were also indicted by a federal grand jury in the investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election in October and another Trump campaign aide, George Papadopoulos, pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI.
Follow Rosenstein testimony updates below:
Ted Lieu highlights political donations made by current FBI director
Rep. Ted Lieu, D-California, listed political contributions that FBI Director Christopher Wray has made to Republican political campaigns over the last decade as well as another senior official. Lieu asked Rosenstein if he believes they can perform their responsibilities in a fair and impartial way. Rosenstein said that they can.
Lieu said he presented that exchange to "shut down this silly argument" made by Republicans that these officials cannot do their jobs because they exercised their right to make political donations.
Rep. Ted Poe asks how many Americans have been affected by Sec. 702 data
The Texas Republican asked Rosenstein how many Americans have been affected by FISA's Sec. 702 program, but Rosenstein said that he cannot disclose that information and that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is the better person to explain why the intelligence community can't reveal that information.
Congress faces a Dec. 31 deadline to reauthorize FISA and Sec. 702.
Rosenstein says he's never been asked to pledge loyalty
The deputy attorney general said he has never been asked for a pledge of loyalty, only to take the oath of office.
Rep. Hakeem Jeffries asks why DOJ disclosed texts to reporters Tuesday
"That was one of my concerns about this issue," said Rosenstein, who said he had wondered it would be appropriate to release them.
The Department of Justice, he added, made the determination that it was appropriate to release them publicly. Rosenstein said that the DOJ's goal is to make sure that they're not concealing anything that is embarrassing to the FBI.
If he said the material is generally not appropriate to be released publicly, he said, it's "never appropriate" to disclose it to reporters.
They were referring to text messages obtained by CBS News on Tuesday that former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok sent to his colleague Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer who was also working on the Mueller team at the time, Paula Reid reported. The texts disparage Trump throughout the campaign.
Rosenstein says he's not afraid of Trump firing him
Rosenstein was asked if he is afraid of President Trump firing him as deputy attorney general.
"No, I am not, congressman," he said.
Steve King asks about FBI interview with Hillary Clinton
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, asked Rosenstein about the July 2016 interview with Clinton. Rosenstein said he doesn't know who conducted the interview or how many people were in the room. He said that "typically" at least two agents conduct interviews. He said that records as kept of that interview with a report compiled, but he said that there is a "generally" no video, audio or transcripts.
"It needs to become the practice," King said about video or audio recordings.
Rosenstein says no one has asked him to remove Mueller
Speaking with Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tennessee, Rosenstein said, "Nobody has communicated to me a desire to remove Robert Mueller" as special counsel.
Sheila Jackson Lee asks Rosenstein if he'll protect Mueller
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas, asked Rosenstein if he'll protect Robert Mueller as special counsel if he hasn't violated any rules or laws
"I won't take any action unless he's violated his duties," he said.
No good cause to fire Robert Mueller, Rosenstein confirms
In an exchange with Nadler, Rosenstein said that if there were "good cause" to fire Mueller as special counsel, "I would act." Nadler, however, asked if there's been no good cause so far.
"Correct," said Rosenstein, who added that he consults with Mueller and that he, as special counsel, is operating within the scope of his investigation.
Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, asked Rosenstein if the special counsel can look into the personal finances of President Trump's family and Rosenstein declined to respond because he said he will not comment on ongoing investigations. Smith said that the American people "deserve" to know who's being investigated and why.
Rosenstein also said that he is not aware of any impropriety by Mueller in the hiring of his team as special counsel.
Rosenstein notes the inspector general's probe into handling of Clinton email investigation
Goodlatte asked Rosenstein if the Department of Justice would reopen the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of private email servers as secretary of state. Rosenstein said that the department is waiting for the DOJ's inspector general to finish its investigation into the handling of that probe.
Rosenstein says in opening statement that justice “requires a fair and impartial process”
Rosenstein said in his opening statement, "Over the past eight months, I have spoken with thousands of Department employees across the country. I remind them that Justice is not only our name, it is our mission. Justice requires a fair and impartial process. That is why we have a special responsibility to follow ethical and professional standards."
"Under the leadership of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and an experienced team appointed by President Trump, the Department of Justice is working tirelessly to protect American citizens and uphold the rule of law."
Jerry Nadler calls on GOP to hold hearing on misconduct allegations against Trump
Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-New York, calls on Republicans to hold a hearing that has been requested by a group of House Democratic women on sexual misconduct allegations made against President Trump. He said that at least 19 women have accused him of such behavior.
Bob Goodlatte references FBI agent Peter Strzok's texts with Lisa Page that disparaged Trump throughout campaign
Chairman Goodlatte is referring to text messages obtained by CBS News on Tuesday that former Special Counsel investigator Peter Strzok sent to his colleague Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer who was also working on the Mueller team at the time, Paula Reid reported. The texts disparage Trump throughout the campaign.
One of the texts was from August 2015 when Page wrote to Strzok, "I just saw my first Bernie Sander [SIC] bumper sticker. Made me want to key the car." Strzok replied, "He's an idiot like Trump. Figure they cancel each other out."