UPDATED: “At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories” the White House said this afternoon.
“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.”
Thursday also is the day set for Christine Blasey Ford to testify at an open hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee about her allegation of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Busy day.
The statement, from White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, followed helter-skelter media reports about the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That included reports he: was on his way to the White House, had resigned, had not resigned but had discussed resigning though the two sides were stuck on some details, expected to be fired at any moment, etc.
When the dust settled, it appeared Rosenstein had spoken to Kelly on Saturday about the possibility of resigning, but he did not actually resign, as the two parties thrashed out details, including timing.
Rosenstein understandably expects to be fired, in the wake of last week’s New York Times bombshell report that, shortly after Trump fired former FBI director James Comey in the spring of 2017, Rosenstein discussed the idea of secretly recording a conversation with President Donald Trump.
The Deputy AG also had a conversation about invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, NYT added.
Rosenstein, who jump-started the Russia probe when he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, has twice denied the NYT report.
Trump, meanwhile, has been uncharacteristically muted about the NYT report, though he has long been at odds with Rosenstein. At a Missouri rally last Friday, Trump said there was a “lingering stench” at the Department of Justice and that he was going to get rid of it.
In an interview this morning with Geraldo Rivera, however, Trump said “I haven’t gotten all the facts, but certainly it’s being looked at in terms of what took place,” when asked about possibly firing Rosenstein.
“If anything took place and I’ll make a determination sometime later, but I don’t have the facts.”
Republican politicos have been urging Trump not to fire Rosenstein until after the midterm elections, arguing that doing so would cause even more headache for the party struggling to hang on to the House and possibly the Senate.
Likewise, some of Trump’s advisers at Fox News, including Sean Hannity, have warned him it’s a trap.
But others he listens to, including Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro, urged Trump, via Twitter, to sack Rosenstein immediately, though Ingraham later deleted her tweet.