Trump suggests Rosenstein could stay at DOJ

President Donald Trump defused the tension building around a closely watched meeting with Deputy Attorney Ge...

Posted: Sep 27, 2018 10:25 AM
Updated: Sep 27, 2018 10:25 AM

President Donald Trump defused the tension building around a closely watched meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein slated for Thursday, suggesting that the No. 2 at the Justice Department may not lose his job after all.

"My preference would be to keep him," Trump said at a news conference in New York Wednesday when asked if he planned to fire Rosenstein. "I would certainly prefer not doing it."

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He went on to indicate that he may postpone the meeting in order to avoid "competing" with his Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's high-stakes hearing on Capitol Hill Thursday.

"I don't want to do anything that gets in the way," Trump said.

But a potential delay or wholesale cancellation of the Rosenstein meeting goes beyond competing with Kavanaugh. It could be seen as a sign that Trump has opted to follow the a chorus of advice -- from his lawyers to Fox News' Sean Hannity -- not to oust Rosenstein, the man who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

'He was very nice'

Last week's stunning reports of Rosenstein's musings about wearing a wire to surreptitiously record the President and ousting him from office last year immediately raised questions about his job security, but the President appeared unperturbed Wednesday.

"We've had a good talk, he said he never said it, he said he had a lot of respect for me," Trump said, adding that Rosenstein was "very nice" and a "member of the Trump administration."

All week, senior White House officials had predicted Rosenstein would remain in his position until at least the midterm election in November, if not through the end of the year -- a welcome relief for those who have the President's ear and have reminded him of the political migraine that could result if he fired Rosenstein so close to the election.

So far, those close to Trump claim he's been uncharacteristically calm about the situation. When he spoke to Rosenstein on Monday, Trump did not raise his voice -- instead, he was measured and said he would rather talk in person Thursday, a senior official told CNN. Behind the scenes, some had even advised him not to do Thursday's meeting at all.

Overall, the President has been far more preoccupied with the drama surrounding Kavanaugh than with Rosenstein this week.

Yet, at least on Monday, the President also had a back-up plan.

Trump spoke directly with Attorney General Jeff Sessions' chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, about becoming the acting deputy attorney general in Rosenstein's place on Monday morning, and Whitaker began telling people, understanding the job would be his, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

The plan did not go expected, and Whitaker's standing as Rosenstein's successor is an open question at this point, but it illustrates the fragile footing Justice officials find themselves in at the moment.

No impeachment

On Capitol Hill, some of Rosenstein's Republican critics have demanded he appear before Congress to explain his comments about wiretapping and the 25th Amendment, but House Speaker Paul Ryan tamped down the calls from the House Freedom Caucus, saying that it was a matter the President and the deputy attorney general had to work out amongst themselves.

"I think we shouldn't step in the way of that. We should let the President work it out with Rod Rosenstein," Ryan said at a news conference. "I hope they have a good productive conversation and I think that's helpful."

Leaders of the House Freedom Caucus, including Republican Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, have called for a subpoena to force Rosenstein's testimony and met with Ryan behind closed doors Wednesday.

Thus far, House Judiciary Commitee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Virginia, has only prepared a subpoena Tuesday evening for the memos authored by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe where the allegations are documented, without readying a subpoena for Rosenstein's testimony.

That didn't satisfy some of Trump's vocal allies in Congress, but their time for another play has dimmed, with Congress leaving town at the end of the week.

"I do not believe that the second in command at DOJ can make the kinds of alleged comments that he made and not come before this committee and this Congress to tell us and the American people to tell us what he said and didn't say," Meadows said, declining to discuss whether he would move forward with articles of impeachment against Rosenstein.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32888

Reported Deaths: 1188
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds259141
DeSoto172418
Madison132635
Jones114049
Neshoba100473
Rankin98213
Harrison96911
Lauderdale92280
Forrest91643
Scott77915
Jackson68917
Copiah62015
Washington61710
Leake58919
Lee56220
Holmes56041
Oktibbeha55227
Wayne54515
Warren53218
Yazoo5236
Lowndes50913
Grenada5067
Leflore50053
Lamar4917
Lincoln48434
Pike45416
Monroe42534
Sunflower4208
Lafayette4094
Covington3755
Attala36523
Panola3646
Bolivar35618
Newton3479
Simpson3453
Adams31518
Tate31011
Pontotoc3046
Marion30012
Chickasaw28719
Claiborne28410
Winston2808
Noxubee2728
Jasper2676
Pearl River26532
Marshall2583
Clay24911
Smith22911
Union21810
Clarke21025
Coahoma2056
Walthall2056
Lawrence1872
Yalobusha1807
Kemper17914
Carroll16811
Humphreys1569
Tallahatchie1454
Calhoun1414
Montgomery1392
Tippah13811
Itawamba1378
Hancock13413
Webster12711
Jefferson Davis1134
Tunica1133
Jefferson1103
Prentiss1103
Greene1059
Amite1043
Wilkinson939
George913
Tishomingo891
Quitman811
Choctaw754
Alcorn742
Perry724
Stone692
Franklin452
Benton420
Sharkey370
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 46424

Reported Deaths: 1032
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson5486155
Montgomery4246105
Mobile4219136
Tuscaloosa234644
Marshall177011
Madison15548
Lee143337
Shelby135724
Morgan11285
Walker98525
Baldwin9809
Elmore96215
Dallas9109
Franklin90216
Etowah79013
DeKalb7615
Chambers64327
Autauga63612
Butler63228
Tallapoosa60469
Russell5680
Unassigned52226
Limestone5181
Houston5106
Lauderdale5016
Lowndes47821
Cullman4705
Pike4525
Colbert4266
St. Clair4162
Escambia4118
Calhoun3875
Coffee3863
Covington3727
Bullock36810
Barbour3572
Talladega3237
Marengo31711
Hale31521
Dale3020
Jackson3022
Wilcox2948
Sumter28512
Clarke2836
Winston2663
Chilton2622
Blount2511
Monroe2412
Pickens2386
Marion23613
Conecuh2177
Randolph2169
Macon1999
Choctaw19712
Bibb1961
Greene1868
Perry1791
Henry1363
Crenshaw1253
Washington1187
Lawrence1090
Cherokee1037
Geneva840
Lamar801
Fayette721
Clay692
Coosa591
Cleburne391
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