Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was joining President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One on Monday, a likely indication that his Justice Department job is at least temporarily safe following a chaotic two-week period that fueled speculation that he was preparing to resign or be fired.
The flight to a police chiefs’ conference on Monday provides an opportunity for their most extensive conversation since news reports last month that Rosenstein had discussed possibly secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and invoking constitutional provisions to get him removed from office.
The Justice Department denied that Rosenstein had proposed invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution and issued a statement that said the remark about recording the president was meant sarcastically.
Even so, Rosenstein told White House officials that he was willing to resign and arrived at the White House 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 had been expected to meet at the White House days later, but that meeting was put off so that the president could focus on a confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. It was not immediately clear if the flight would substitute for the pre-planned White House meeting.
Trump has said publicly that he would prefer not to fire the Justice Department’s No. 2 official and that Rosenstein has 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, suggesting Rosenstein’s job is safe at least for now.
Trump is scheduled to speak Monday at the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Orlando. The Justice Department in the Trump administration has said reducing violent crime and supporting local enforcement are top priorities.
Any termination or resignation of Rosenstein has the potential to affect the special counsel’s investigation into possible coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign since Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to the job of special counsel and closely oversees his work.
Although Trump has at times criticized his deputy attorney general, he has reserved his sharpest verbal attacks for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused from the Russia investigation in March 2017 because of his involvement with the Trump campaign.
Besides the meeting with Trump, Rosenstein has also agreed to a private meeting with House Republicans who want to question him about his reported statements on the president.
This article provided by NewsEdge.