A Thursday meeting may determine whether Rod Rosenstein leaves as Deputy Attorney General. President Trump has criticized Rosenstein but may decide to keep him anyway.
President Trump told advisers he is open to keeping Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on the job, reports the Wall Street Journal. Rosenstein allies say he has given them the impression he doesn’t plan to quit. That raised the possibility that a roller coaster week could end with no major shake-up in the top ranks of the Justice Department. Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and links to Trump campaign officials. The president says he wants to hear directly from Rosenstein on Thursday about reports that he discussed secretly recording the president and recruiting cabinet members to remove him from office. Rosenstein denies it.
Republicans in the House were preparing a subpoena for memos allegedly detailing Rosenstein’s comments on surreptitiously recording the president. Rosenstein has been a target of the president’s ire as part of his disdain for Mueller’s investigation, but those tensions eased in recent months. “The president is genuinely conflicted,” said a source who has spoken to the president. “He’s got an open mind about whether Rod really tried to orchestrate this.” The should-he-stay-or-should-he-go speculation over Rosenstein has gripped Washington because of the implications of ousting the man overseeing the Mueller investigation probe. Rudy Giuliani, a lawyer for Trump, said regardless of whether Rosenstein stays in his job, the Mueller probe should be paused and examined “in the interest of fairness.” “I’m not sure they should get rid of him,” Giuliani said of Rosenstein. “But I do think they should take a serious look at whether he should be the decision maker.” He noted that Rosenstein was a witness in the investigation, given his role in the president’s decision to fire James Comey as FBI director.