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Measure to impeach Rod Rosenstein won't be brought up by House Freedom Caucus before recess

GOP lawmakers trying to impeach deputy AG?
GOP lawmakers trying to impeach deputy AG? 01:33

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-North Carolina, said Thursday morning that he will not try to bring up the resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Thursday, CBS News' Rebecca Kaplan reports.

"Technically I could still file it today, I am not doing that," he said. "We were able to make some other concessions and agreements that will hopefully will compel DOJ and FBI to deliver the documents." Asked what concessions and agreements those were, Meadows said, "We had a conversation with the Judiciary chairman and leadership in terms of how important it is for us to get the documents, I think we have a mutual understanding."

Meadows made the announcement after huddling on the House floor with leadership, aides and Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Ohio. 

Meadows said that he is "trying to make sure that we go the extra mile to give DOJ and FBI the ability to comply."

However, the Justice Department says it has had no discussion with Meadows since he introduced articles of impeachment after their meeting Wednesday afternoon, CBS News' Paula Reid reports. The Justice Department also confirmed that only one committee request has been formally denied, a demand to see the unredacted Justice Department memo detailing which Trump associates are under investigation and for which potential crimes. 

Rosenstein got a vote of support from his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said at a press conference Thursday, "Rod Rosenstein is highly capable. I have the highest confidence in him."

A handful of conservative members of Congress officially introduced articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday in a move they had threatened to make for weeks. The articles were introduced by Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, and Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, along with 9 cosponsors. 

Meadows and Jordan have long been critical of Rosenstein and the Justice Department, saying the department has failed to comply with Congress' demands for unredacted records about the Russia investigation. Rosenstein has overseen the special counsel's probe since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

House Republicans have long complained about the surveillance of onetime Trump campaign aide Carter Page. The introduction of the articles of impeachment followed soon after the DOJ released the applications for surveillance warrants filed under the Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act.

"With Attorney General Sessions' recusal, Rod Rosenstein has been in charge of the Department of Justice as the agency has made every effort to obstruct legitimate attempts of congressional oversight," Meadows said in a statement Wednesday, adding that it's "time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency." 

There are a number of high-ranking House Republicans who do not agree that trying to impeach Rosenstein is the best course of action. Earlier this month, asked by CBS News' Margaret Brennan on "Face the Nation," whether he'd sign onto the effort, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-South Carolina, retorted, "No. For what? Impeach him for what? No."

He went on to acknowledge his differences with the deputy attorney general but says he has had constructive discussions with him privately. Besides, getting rid of Rosenstein is not his job, he says. "If President Trump is dissatisfied with Rod Rosenstein, he can fire him with a tweet," Gowdy told Brennan. "But to impeach someone, I mean, no. I would not be -- I'm not convinced there is a movement. I read about it in Politico, and sometimes their sources are better than mine."

House Speaker Paul Ryan also opposes the effort.  "I don't think we should be cavalier with this process or this term," Ryan told reporters of impeachment proceedings for Rosenstein. He added, "I don't think that this rises to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors, that's a really high standard."

Ryan said that since he's been involved in the document request process, "tremendous progress" has been made. He did however, urge full and complete compliance from Justice moving forward.

"We all want make sure we get compliance, different members have different beliefs on how best to achieve those goals, we want to make sure we get DOJ compliance," he said.

CBS News' Emily Tillett contributed to this report.

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