Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, reportedly leaving post

Frederick Owens
September 25, 2018

Rosenstein is the top Justice Department official overseeing the Trump-Russia investigation.

Numerous media outlets reported in a frenzy on Monday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had resigned or that he was being fired because he was heading to the White House, but none of those reports turned out to be true.

Rosenstein has now traveled to the White House to meet with Trump, after it emerged he'd offered to wear a secret wire to catch the president's alleged rants.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders also confirmed that Rosenstein was still on duty, but said that he and Trump had spoken Monday and would meet on Thursday in Washington.

Reports of Rod Rosenstein's ouster have been greatly exaggerated. He angrily asked confidants, both inside and outside the White House, how to respond.

"We have received conflicting reports this morning that President Trump was about to fire Mr. Rosenstiein, that Mr. Rosenstein resigned in anticipation of being fired, or that the White House falsely claimed that Mr. Rosenstein resigned when he had not".

A frantic Monday morning left Rosenstein's future - and that of the Russian Federation investigation - uncertain.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein headed to the White House Monday expecting to lose his job, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. If he resigns, Trump has more leeway in choosing Rosenstein's successor - giving him the option of installing a loyalist who could hamstring, or even end, Mueller's probe altogether.

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One current Federal Bureau of Investigation employee, who requested anonymity when speaking about internal matters, said in reaction to the potential of Rosenstein's ouster: "Wow". If Rosenstein were to leave office, U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco would be in line to oversee the Russian Federation probe.

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, whose private memos document comments made by Rosenstein, said Monday he he was concerned that a Rosenstein departure would put the investigation at risk. "If anything took place, and I'll make a determination sometime later".

The law is fuzzy on whether a president can directly fire a special counsel, as we've explained.

Trump, who on Friday suggested that he would remove a "lingering stench" from the Justice Department, did not publicly reveal any plans over the weekend. As The Washington Post's Aaron Blake notes, Trump can appoint a temporary replacement if Rosenstein did indeed step down voluntarily.

"I don't want to comment on it".

The New York Times first reported that in 2017, Rosenstein had proposed secretly recording Trump and suggested his removal from office.

During an exchange about the DOJ's failure to turn over documents related to the FBI's probes into Clinton's email server, Rosenstein prompted laughs when he smacked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) down with some clever trolling.

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