Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quits before Trump can fire him

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein quits before Trump can fire him

Although the outlet's social media handles promoted the story as if Rosenstein's resignation was definitive, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders disputed the reporting.

While speculation and confusion reigned on Monday as to whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would be leaving his post at Justice Department, President Donald Trump's lawyer has called for a pause in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation should Rosenstein leave his post.

"We have received conflicting reports this morning that President Trump was about to fire Mr. Rosenstiein, that Mr. Rosenstein resigned in anticipation of being fired, or that the White House falsely claimed that Mr. Rosenstein resigned when he had not". The Times said Rosenstein also discussed identifying cabinet members willing to invoke the 25th Amendment, which provides for the removal of a president who's unfit for office.

Trump has faced mounting pressure from the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.

After hours of reports from several publications that the Deputy Attorney General had either resigned or was expecting to be fired imminently, it appeared on Monday afternoon that he is still on the job, at least for another few days. Rosenstein denied the report swiftly but his future is hanging in balance from the moment that story broke - the Trump White House does not take kindly to naysayers and Rosenstein has been a target of Trump's attacks for more than a year now.

But the latest move comes after a New York Times report of Rosenstein's comments in May 2017. 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.

The removal of Rosenstein could became another flashpoint in the midterm congressional races, as Republicans are seeking to prevent the Democrats from gaining control of the House - where the impeachment process could be initiated - and possibly the Senate after November 6. With Rosenstein possibly out of the way, Trump is freer to meddle in Muller's investigation.

If Rosenstein resigns, Trump has more leeway on replacing him while firing him would make it harder for Trump to designate a successor. He discussed dismissing Rosenstein with aides at the White House in April, a person familiar with the matter said.

If he was sacked, the move could possibly be relevant to claims that the U.S. president has obstructed justice in his dealings with the Russian Federation probe.

Trump is now in NY for the United Nations General Assembly, so the two will meet Thursday "when the President returns to Washington, D.C".

"There's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that, too", Mr. Trump said.

Pompeo, who has been steadfastly loyal to Trump in public and who earlier headed the Central Intelligence Agency, said that the administration needed all staffers "engaged in helping achieve President Trump's mission".

He quit instead of being fired, the report says.

Likewise, some of Trump's advisers at Fox News, including Sean Hannity, have warned him it's a trap. "I sacrificed personally and professionally to help put the investigation on a proper course and subsequently made every effort to protect it".

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