Rod Rosenstein met with President Donald Trump on Monday, a White House spokesperson said, as the deputy attorney general’s status with the administration remained in doubt following a Friday New York Times report that Rosenstein had talked about secretly taping the president and invoking the 25th Amendment for his removal.
According to White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders, the two “had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories” and will meet again on Thursday after Trump returns from New York City where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly.
According to the Washington Post, Rosenstein has told White House officials that he is willing to resign and told insiders that he expected to be fired.
If Rosenstein exits, Solicitor General Noel Francisco is expected to assume oversight of independent counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, an inquiry that President Trump has long derided as a “witch hunt.”
Statement on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein: pic.twitter.com/yBgAydv9oR
— Kayleigh McEnany 45 Archived (@PressSec45) September 24, 2018
Questions about Rosenstein’s future arose after the New York Times reported on Friday that in spring 2017 he had discussed “recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment” and possibly make a secret recording of the president soon after Trump’s firing of then-FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein denied the Times report.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement Friday. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Rosenstein said.
The 25th Amendment lays out the unusual conditions that would allow for the removal of a president, on the basis the commander-in-chief is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
The Rosenstein story followed a recent media narrative of people within the Trump Administration plotting against him: Bob Woodward’s “Fear: Trump in the White House,” described aides removing documents from Trump’s desk so he wouldn’t sign them, and an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, written by a Trump aide, described people in the administration trying to curb the president’s worst impulses.
For the record: A previous version of this story said that individuals with knowledge of the situation had told Axios and CNN that Rosenstein had verbally offered to resign to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.