The White House delayed until at least Thursday a decision on the fate of Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official overseeing the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, following chaotic hours of breathless and sometimes conflicting reports anticipating his imminent departure.
His future hanging in the balance over revelations that he had discussed possibly secretly recording the president, Rosenstein expected to be fired as he headed for the White House on Monday for what was later described as a prescheduled meeting. Instead, the White House said that Rosenstein and Trump would meet Thursday after the president’s return to Washington, suggesting the deputy attorney general may be in his job for at least several more days. The meeting is set for the same day as an extraordinary Senate committee hearing that is to feature Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused him of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school. Any termination or resignation would have immediate implications for special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of possible collaboration between Russia and the Trump campaign before the 2016 election.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller and oversees his investigation. Rosenstein and Trump, who is in New York for the UN general assembly, had an extended conversation to discuss recent news stories about negative comments Rosenstein is reported to have made last year about the president, said White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The deputy attorney general was reported as having discussed possibly secretly recording the president and invoking the Constitution to have the Cabinet remove him from office. The Justice Department issued two statements from Rosenstein denying the remarks and released a separate statement from someone who said he recalled the recording comment but insisted that it was meant sarcastically.