Rod Rosenstein Has Verbally Resigned To John Kelly

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President Trump said at a press conference Wednesday that he "may delay" his meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, now scheduled for Thursday.

President Trump said Wednesday that his "preference" is to keep the deputy attorney general while he is overseeing the special counsel's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 United States election.

The New York Times reported that on Monday morning, when it appeared Rosenstein was headed out the door at the Justice Department, President Donald Trump called Matt Whitaker, the chief of staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Rosenstein reportedly also suggested invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office previous year. But Trump told the news conference he could delay the meeting for fear of distracting from a Senate hearing on Brett Kavanaugh, his embattled nominee to join the Supreme Court.

"I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little bit of a delay to the meeting, because I don't want to do anything that gets in the way of this very important Supreme Court pick", Trump said. Caucus leader Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) said Tuesday that the group wants Rosenstein to answer questions about the explosive New York Times piece.

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While it remains unclear what will happen, White House officials have said Trump likely won't fire Rosenstein until after the midterm elections, and Justice Department officials have said they are skeptical Rosenstein will quit now. And while many of Trump's allies have urged caution, fearing a trap, moments ago Axios reported that Rosenstein has made a decision to preempt that step by verbally resigning to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge.

Those details in the Times report - which Rosenstein denied - prompted him to visit the White House on Monday with the expectation that he was going to be fired. Some reports suggest that Mueller himself has investigated Trump's behavior, including his tweets, with respect to an obstruction probe. "And we'll see", Trump said.

Both Rosenstein and Sessions have been on thin ice for more than a year, as Trump has mused privately and publicly about firing both men.

He was named U.S. Attorney in Maryland by George W. Bush and held the position throughout the Obama administration - remarkable longevity for a position that typically turns over with changes in political power.

Rosenstein dismissed the news accounts as generally not true, and he told the White House McCabe had exaggerated.