After initial news reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was about to be fired or forced to resign, the White House on Monday said that President Donald Trump would meet with Rosenstein on Thursday, with Rosenstein’s job future seemingly still in question.
“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement issued to reporters.
“Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.,” Sanders added.
That Trump-Rosenstein meeting would come on the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee will be meeting to hear from Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused the judge of sexual assault when they were in high school.
What fueled the latest reports over Rosenstein’s job security was a story last week in the New York Times, in which it was reported that Rosenstein suggested using the 25th Amendment to remove the President from office; Rosenstein firmly denied that.
Rosenstein has been a target of both the President and Republicans in Congress in recent months, as Democrats have repeatedly warned Mr. Trump not to get rid of Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia investigation.
The President has made clear his displeasure repeatedly about Rosenstein’s most consequential act as Deputy Attorney General, the May 2017 appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
“A Rosenstein resignation would place the Mueller investigation in serious danger,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY).
“If Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, it is obstruction of justice in the most fundamental sense,” said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL), a frequent critic of the House GOP investigation of the Russia probe.
“As a member of the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is NOT your lapdog,” tweeted Rep. Al Green (D-TX), who has filed impeachment articles against President Trump.
Meanwhile, GOP critics of Rosenstein want to haul him before the House Judiciary Committee as soon as this week.
“You can’t have the head of the Justice Department (even if it’s sarcasm) talking to subordinates about recording the Commander in Chief,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said of Rosenstein. “He needs to answer our questions.”