Rosenstein not fired today, will meet Trump again on Thursday
Rosenstein and Trump had “an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Monday. Sanders added that Rosenstein and Trump would meet again on Thursday once the president returns from the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Axios previously reported that Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Monday morning, A number of other sources reported that Rosenstein was on his way to the White House “expecting to be fired,” and would not voluntarily resign.
Later AP reported that Rosenstein was heading to White House expecting to be fired. NBC news reported that Rosenstein has said he will not resign and that White House would have to fire him.
Big breaking story emerging here in Washington. Rod Rosenstein - the man who oversees the Russia probe - has resigned, multiple US outlets reporting. That means someone new will be in charge of Mueller. Developing...— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) September 24, 2018
The resignation rumours also come days after a New York Times report revealed that Rosenstein suggested secretly recording President Trump in the White House to build a case for invoking the 25th Amendment and removing Trump from office for being unfit. Rosenstein allegedly suggested the secret recording in April of last year, after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
US envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley denied that anyone within Trump’s administration actually discussed using the 25th Amendment to topple the president, and called such rumors “absurd.”
The story was denied by Rosenstein, but was touted by a number of Trump supporters as reason to fire the Deputy AG.
At a campaign-style rally in Missouri on Friday, Trump vowed to rid the Justice Department of “a lingering stench,” and clean it of “really bad people.” Trump did not name Rosenstein explicitly, but promised to take action.
Trump has voiced frustration with the Department of Justice in recent weeks, not just with Rosenstein, but also with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.Trump has blasted Sessions for recusing himself from overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, and for allowing Democrats within the department to “subvert” his administration.
“I don’t have an attorney-general. It’s very sad,” he told the Hill last week. In August, Trump told Fox & Friends that he “put in an attorney general that never took control of the Justice Department, Jeff Sessions.”
If Rosenstein were to be fired, Solicitor General Noel Francisco is next in line to take Rosenstein’s position. With that position comes the responsibility of overseeing the Mueller investigation. Francisco has previously expressed disdain for Special Counsel investigations, stating that these investigations are better left in the hands of career prosecutors within the Department of Justice.
While Rosenstein had been relatively content to let the Mueller investigation proceed unhindered, Francisco could refuse to approve Mueller’s investigative decisions, or outright fire the special counsel with valid reason.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a Trump opponent currently writing a book about his experience with the president, said he is “deeply concerned” that Rosenstein’s departure could jeopardize the Russia probe.
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