Trump says he won’t fire Rosenstein

Bangla Tribune Desk
Published : 18:52, Oct 09, 2018 | Updated : 18:54, Oct 09, 2018

Front page of the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday (Oct 9)President Donald Trump declared a reprieve Monday for Rod Rosenstein, saying he has no plans to fire the deputy attorney general whose future has been the source of intense speculation for two weeks.
“I’m not making any changes,” Trump told reporters as he returned to the White House after traveling with Rosenstein to an international police chiefs’ conference in Florida. “We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along.”
The flight provided an opportunity for their most extensive conversation since news reports last month that Rosenstein had discussed the possibilities in early 2017 of secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to have him removed from office.
Those reports triggered an avalanche of speculation about the future of Rosenstein — and also the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. The deputy attorney general appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to his special counsel post and closely oversees his work.
“I actually have a good relationship — other than there’s been no collusion folks, no collusion,” Trump said Monday as he departed the White House, referring to the question of whether his 2016 campaign worked with Russians to interfere on behalf of his presidential bid. “I have a very good relationship. We’ll see.”
Trump said he was eager to speak with Rosenstein aboard Air Force One on the flight to Orlando. They did talk, for about 45 minutes, but not alone, a White House spokesman said. The subjects: violent crime in Chicago,
support for local law enforcement, border security, the conference they were flying to and “general DOJ business,” spokesman Hogan Gidley said without elaboration.
“I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him,” Trump said at the White House earlier.
The Justice Department has denied that Rosenstein had proposed invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which would involve the Cabinet and vice president agreeing to remove Trump. And the remark about recording the president was meant sarcastically, the department said.
Even so, Rosenstein told White House officials that he was willing to resign and arrived at the White House a week and a half ago with the expectation that he would be fired. He met in person with White House chief of staff John Kelly and spoke by phone with Trump during a tumultuous day that ended with him still in his job.
Rosenstein and Trump delayed a planned Sept. 27 one-on-one meeting until Monday to allow Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to play out.
Trump had previously said that he would prefer not to fire the Justice Department’s No. 2 official and that Rosenstein had told him he did not say the remarks attributed to him. Advisers had also cautioned Trump against doing anything dramatic in the weeks before the midterm elections next month.
Kelly was present for Monday’s conversation between Rosenstein and Trump, the White House said, as was Rosenstein’s top deputy at the Justice Department, Ed O’Callaghan.
Democrats and some Republican lawmakers have warned Trump for months about firing either Rosenstein or Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Democrats warned doing so would trigger a Constitutional crisis since Mueller had yet to finish his work. They also say terminating either Justice official would be Trump’s opening move toward eventually firing Mueller or shutting down his investigation.
Sen. Ron Wyden, R-Ore., said recently that if Trump fires Rosenstein “for the purpose of protecting himself from the Mueller investigation, that would represent high crimes and misdemeanors.”
And House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told reporters late last month that he hoped the deputy AG “stays in place.”
“Any effort to undermine the Mueller investigation will be obstruction of justice,” Hoyer said.
Should Democrats take the House in November’s midterm elections, such talk from a senior Democratic leader could spawn impeachment proceedings. So far, most Republicans are sticking by Trump, but if the party concludes his antics since taking office contributed to the GOP losing the House — and possibly the Senate — then the impeachment math could swing against him.
Although Trump has at times criticized his deputy attorney general, he has reserved his sharpest verbal attacks for Sessions, who recused himself from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his own earlier involvement with the Trump campaign.
Both men will likely see their futures re-evaluated after the elections, Trump advisers have said.
But even as Trump has decided to leave Rosenstein in place, the matter of what Rosenstein said and proposed doing likely will remain as political issues heading into the homestretch of the midterms — and beyond.
House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte said he plans to subpoena the Justice Department for memos Andrew McCabe wrote during his tenure as acting FBI director. The documents reportedly chronicle conversations in which Rosenstein discussed the idea of secretly recording Trump for the purpose of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
Trying to appease conservative House Republicans who have threatened Rosenstein with impeachment proceedings, the deputy AG has agreed to talk to them in a private session.
Other Trump allies in the House are saying the matter could warrant Congress doing what the president opted against this week.
“We are pushing very hard to make sure that he comes in under oath to Congress and let the American people judge for themselves,” House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., told Fox News late last month. “I can tell you that if he does not, there are a number of us that are standing by really with impeachment documents that say we cannot have this kind of activity continue at DOJ.”
“We just had a very nice talk. We actually get along.” —President Donald Trump