Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hit back Tuesday against Trump-allied Republican lawmakers who drafted articles of impeachment against him, saying "the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted."
"They can't even resist leaking their own drafts," Rosenstein joked.
He said that the reported articles of impeachment are only the latest threats against him.
"They've been making threats, privately and publicly, against me, for quite some time," he said, "and I think they should understand by now, the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted."
He added, "Any kind of threats that anybody makes are not going to affect the way we do our job."
Rosenstein's remarks came during an event at the Newseum in Washington, less than a day after news reports revealed that Republicans in the conservative House Freedom Caucus drafted articles of impeachment as a "last resort" against the Justice Department's second in command.
Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to conduct the probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. President Donald Trump has repeatedly called the investigation a "witch hunt."
At the Tuesday event, Rosenstein defended his department's practices against the threat from Congress, using the example of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA, warrants as an example. Some Republicans, including members of the House Intelligence Committee's Republican majority, have accused the Justice Department of seeking warrants against Trump-connected figures based on political bias.
Rosenstein contrasted the measures of personal accountability involved in submitting a FISA warrant with the articles of impeachment that leaked against him this week.
"I just don't have anything to say about documents like that, that nobody has the courage to put their name on, and that they leak in that way," Rosenstein said.
Preet Bharara, who was fired as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York by Trump, took to Twitter to weigh in on Rosenstein's comments. Bharara said Rosenstein "spoke deliberately, forcefully and provocatively," and stated: "Maybe a reckoning is at hand."