After The New York Times’ anonymously sourced debacle over Rosenstein’s supposed plotting against Trump, there seemed to be some doubt as to the deputy attorney general’s future. So much so, in fact, that Axios later reported – also citing unnamed sources – that Rosenstein had verbally resigned to Chief of Staff John Kelley rather than wait around to be fired by the president.
While the whole situation described by these stories seems to have been mostly discredited, Rosenstein was set to meet with Trump Thursday, September 27 to talk about it. The meeting didn’t go through – being rescheduled for next week – but it doesn’t seem that the Deputy AG has much to worry about, as the president has already made clear that he wasn’t planning on firing Rosenstein.
Postponing the Meeting
Rosenstein arrived at the White House for his meeting with Trump, knowing ahead of time that the discussion might be delayed by the president. Trump had expressed a desire to focus on the Kavanaugh hearing and didn’t want to let anything distract him from it. Sure enough, the discussion has been rescheduled for next week.
There are those who take the postponement as a harbinger of doom for the deputy AG, but the president has made it clear that the delay is entirely for the sake of the Kavanaugh hearing,
“I’d much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein,” President Trump told reporters Wednesday, September 26. It’s not certain exactly what will come of their meeting, but Trump seems, so far, inclined to believe Rosenstein’s denial of the allegations.
“We’ve had a good talk. He said he never said it. He said he does not believe that. He said he has a lot of respect for me. And he was very nice. And we’ll see.”
While there’s still room for his mind to be changed, it certainly looks like Trump isn’t planning to fire the man.
Rosenstein Here to Stay?
It’s hard to say how the meeting will affect Trump’s decision. Rosenstein and Trump haven’t precisely always seen eye to eye. The president hasn’t spared Rosenstein any in his tweets regarding the Mueller investigation or any corruption at the FBI or DOJ, and several GOP Representatives filed articles of impeachment against him for dragging his feet on releasing documents.
And, of course, Rosenstein has played his part in this strife as well. He was ridiculously slow to release documents to Congress, as mentioned above, and he has staunchly defended both the Mueller investigation and the DOJ in general. This has, of course, caused him to have some credibility issues.
However, the idea that Rosenstein was ignorant enough to believe he could get rid of Trump via the 25th Amendment – or foolish enough to try anyway, knowing it wouldn’t work – is just silly. And Trump knows that. In fact, the highly suspect story of the Rosenstein plot could make The New York Times – or as Andrew Klavan said, “a former newspaper” – the common enemy they need to get along and work together.
So for now, it looks like Rod Rosenstein is here to stay, but we’ll find out for sure – maybe – next week.