US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein considering to resign

Geraldine Edwards
September 26, 2018

The New York Times reported that Rosenstein was visibly emotional when he arrived to meet with McGahn, who suggested he speak with Kelly about his concerns.

Almost two hours later, Politico reported that Rosenstein was attending a previously scheduled meeting at the White House and added that he has not been fired and has not resigned.

Rosenstein's head was thought to be on the chopping block after reports of an alleged plot to secretly record Trump and use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution as a lever to force him from office.

Rosenstein - who is the United States government's second most senior lawyer - offered a verbal resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly Monday morning, in anticipation of Kelly axing him on Trump's behalf, Axios reported.

Rosenstein supervises Mueller and has signed off on his decisions to bring criminal charges against individuals associated with Trump's presidential campaign.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders would not offer any assurances that President Trump will allow the special counsel investigation to continue without delay if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein exits the Justice Department, telling "Good Morning America" Tuesday that she doesn't want to get ahead of the process. "They will meet on Thursday when the president returns to Washington".

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Mr Trump has repeatedly referred to the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation as a political witch hunt.

Mr Trump can install a temporary replacement as deputy attorney general until he nominates a successor to Mr Rosenstein who would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The New York Times and Washington Post reports were based on secret memos by a former Federal Bureau of Investigation director - which some speculated may have been leaked in order to undermine Rosenstein, and in turn the Russian Federation special prosecutor Mueller.

According to the paper's sources, Rosenstein had also discussed recruiting cabinet members in order to invoke the 25th amendment, to remove the USA president from office for being unfit.

Other reports suggest that Rosenstein has resigned, or indeed, resigned before Trump had the chance to fire him.

Thus, the choice facing Rosenstein looked like an easy one: Stand strong to protect the republic from authoritarian assault - or resign, to protect himself from angry Trump tweets. Trump laid blame for the controversy at the feet of his attorney general.

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Immediately following the publication of the Times story last Friday, some of Trump's favorite far-right influencers, including Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro, called for Rosenstein's immediate firing. Rosenstein oversees the probe as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

As of Sunday, Trump said he had not decided what to do about Rosenstein. According to Vanity Fair's Sherman, the White House is pushing the Rosenstein drama in hopes of burying the growing scandal around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, which could explain a Thursday meeting was scheduled between Trump and Rosenstein, in direct conflict with the Senate hearing at which Kavanaugh and his initial accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, will testify.

The White House used Rosenstein's memo to justify Comey's firing.

The resignation was delivered to Mr Kelly late last week, but it's unclear whether Mr Rosenstein is planning to follow through with a formal resignation, the person said.

If he leaves, Rosenstein's departure would spark immediate questions about the long-term job security of special counsel Robert Mueller.

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