Why Donald Trump might not fire Rod Rosenstein

We're now a little more than 36 hours from the face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Deput...

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 10:39 AM
Updated: Sep 26, 2018 10:39 AM

We're now a little more than 36 hours from the face-to-face meeting between President Donald Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Since Monday morning -- when rumors spread like wildfire that Rosenstein was on his way to resign to chief of staff John Kelly -- the expectation has been that Trump will can Rosenstein on Thursday.

Not so fast.

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Government and public administration

Investigations

Political Figures - US

Politics

Rod Rosenstein

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

This, from CNN's Jeff Zeleny, is instructive about how dangerous it is to make predictions about what Trump will do about, well, anything:

"Rosenstein could find himself in a similar position (to Attorney General Jeff Sessions), two officials suggested: one of obvious enmity with the President, but without being fired. Like Sessions, it's almost certainly not a question of whether he gets replaced, but when. But that timing could come well after the midterm elections, the officials say."

There are two reasons -- one practical, one psychological -- that suggest that Rosenstein could be spared on Thursday.

First, the practical. Virtually every Republican in elected office has urged Trump to keep Rosenstein on the job -- for now. The concern among that group is that the Senate is already embroiled in a confirmation fight over the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. And, with the 2018 midterms set for six weeks from today, the last thing they need is to face down a series of questions about whether the President is purposely meddling in the special counsel investigation by Robert Mueller that Rosenstein currently oversees.

"If he were to fire him or forced to resign, that would be a very significant issue because he's the person in charge of the Mueller investigation," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told CNN's Manu Raju on Tuesday afternoon. "If there's any attempt to fire or force out Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, that would be a huge red line and very problematic."

Republicans' nerves are already frazzled by the increasingly dire predictions of their House majority's future and mounting worries about whether the seemingly impregnable Senate majority could be in jeopardy as well. "Please no more!," Republicans will tell Trump if he happens to ask.

Second, the psychological. Trump LOVES turning expectations about him -- and what he will do -- on his head. The boardroom scenes in "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice" were chock full of just these sorts of expectation reversals. You would be led to believe -- thanks to editing and Trump's own rhetoric -- that he was going to fire, say, Dennis Rodman. But then he fires Andrew Dice Clay. (Ohhhhh!)

Also, never forget how Trump built up the suspense on whether he would strip Miss California -- Carrie Prejean -- of her crown after she expressed her personal opposition to same-sex marriage and some nearly-nude pictures of her were posted online. He built the event up -- and up -- before sparing Prejean, playing the role of magnanimous magnate to a massive press corps assembled for the "event."

The Point: This showdown sitdown with Rosenstein on Thursday is the stuff that Trump has always loved. All eyes on him, wondering if he will swing the executioner's ax or show mercy. And no one -- maybe not even him -- knowing what he will do until he does it. 

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 16769

Reported Deaths: 803
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds110426
Madison77829
Lauderdale76569
Neshoba73945
Jones70933
Scott66312
Forrest60039
DeSoto59310
Rankin4639
Leake45512
Holmes44431
Copiah3344
Jackson31415
Attala31218
Yazoo2985
Newton2924
Oktibbeha28314
Leflore28238
Lincoln28131
Wayne2803
Monroe26925
Harrison2687
Lamar2525
Lowndes2529
Pearl River21231
Pike20411
Adams20416
Warren19910
Washington1998
Lee1978
Noxubee1956
Covington1832
Bolivar16911
Jasper1684
Clarke15619
Smith15611
Lafayette1564
Kemper15611
Chickasaw14314
Coahoma1324
Clay1254
Winston1241
Carroll11911
Marion1169
Claiborne1165
Yalobusha1116
Grenada1104
Lawrence1071
Simpson1050
Sunflower963
Tate931
Hancock9012
Marshall893
Union897
Itawamba897
Webster885
Panola873
Wilkinson859
Montgomery841
Jefferson Davis823
Tippah7611
Calhoun684
Walthall670
Amite651
Humphreys647
Tunica583
Prentiss533
Choctaw522
Perry513
Pontotoc493
Jefferson421
Tishomingo360
Stone320
Quitman320
Tallahatchie311
Greene301
George302
Franklin292
Alcorn191
Benton140
Sharkey70
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 19387

Reported Deaths: 676
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2341123
Jefferson1927105
Montgomery190544
Tuscaloosa85316
Marshall7149
Franklin5939
Lee56334
Shelby53619
Tallapoosa43566
Butler43121
Walker3973
Elmore38110
Chambers36326
Madison3594
Unassigned3144
Morgan3141
Baldwin2969
Dallas2963
Lowndes26912
Etowah26512
DeKalb2603
Autauga2485
Coffee2401
Sumter2369
Houston2275
Pike2231
Bullock2197
Colbert1972
Hale19210
Russell1870
Barbour1831
Marengo1796
Lauderdale1752
Calhoun1693
Cullman1631
Wilcox1587
Choctaw15310
Clarke1492
St. Clair1372
Randolph1288
Dale1250
Marion12511
Talladega1215
Pickens1215
Limestone1100
Chilton1081
Greene955
Macon944
Winston920
Jackson863
Henry842
Covington831
Crenshaw803
Escambia793
Bibb761
Washington746
Blount641
Lawrence510
Monroe492
Geneva450
Perry430
Conecuh421
Coosa401
Cherokee383
Clay282
Lamar280
Fayette160
Cleburne151
Tupelo
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 84°
Columbus
Broken Clouds
78° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 80°
Oxford
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 81°
Starkville
Scattered Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 75°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather