Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Likely to Resign After Taping Scandal
The future career of U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is in serious trouble after a flurry of meetings and private discussions were held concerning his fate on Monday. For now Rosenstein still holds his position at the Department of Justice, but is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday over allegations that he planned to secretly record Trump and invoke the 25th amendment, which transfers the office of presidency to the vice president in the case of the president’s death, resignation, removal from office, or severe impairment.
According to anonymous sources within the Justice Department and Trump Administration, it appeared that Rosenstein was planning to resign early Monday. His decision to step down was likely due to the threat of having to testify before Congress about reports that he sought to impeach President Trump using the little known 25th amendment. Though Rosenstein called these allegations “inaccurate and factually incorrect," the mere possibility that he considered taking actions against the President caused many to demand his resignation.
By midday on Monday, Rosenstein and his aides went to the White House where the Deputy Attorney General fully expected to be fired from his position. However, Chief of Staff John Kelley seemed hesitant to let Rosenstein go before the midterm elections, and deferred the decision about his fate to President Trump.
It remains utterly uncertain as to how long Rosenstein will hold his current position, but it is hard to believe that President Trump will be forgiving of attempts to impeach him. Until the meeting between the Deputy Attorney General and the President occurs on Thursday, when Trump returns from the U.N. General Assembly, it is likely that the situation for Rosenstein will not change.
The fate of Rod Rosenstein is not only significant because it would be another shake-up of high ranking figures in the Trump Administration, but because of his influential role in the current probe investigating the Trump Administration and Russian election interference. President Trump has long seen Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller as conspirators who are attempting to destroy his government. If the President decided to fire Rosenstein, it would be seen by many as an effort to sabotage the Russia investigation.
The leadership of both parties on capitol hill spoke up about the drama surrounding the Deputy Attorney General, and what its impact could be into Mueller’s investigation. Democratic House Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) tweeted that “under no circumstances should Rod Rosenstein resign. This would place the Mueller investigation in even greater jeopardy. Rosenstein should continue to do his job, protect the independence of the DOJ, and if the President intends to obstruct justice, force Trump to fire him.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) also seemed to caution President Trump on preemptively firing Rod Rosenstein in an interview with Fox News on Sunday, declaring that “he (The President) shouldn’t fire Rosenstein unless you believe Rosenstein’s lying.” However, more radical wings of the GOP were more sceptical of keeping the Deputy Attorney General in power. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the deeply conservative House Freedom Caucus said on Tuesday that “you cannot have the guy who is, in effect, running the Justice Department, in front of subordinates, talk about recording the president, even if it is done in a sarcastic way.”
The final decision on the future of Rod Rosenstein is up to one man, President Donald Trump. On Monday, while meeting with World Leaders at the United Nations, the President told reporters that “we'll be meeting at the White House and we'll be determining what's going on," and that "we want to have transparency, we want to have openness, and I look forward to meeting with Rod at that time."