The personnel shuffling inside the Trump administration is continuing this week. Anyone who works inside the current administration works under a heavy cloud, and according to Axios, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is now aiming to abandon his post and escape that “cloud.” The outlet reported Monday morning that he had verbally resigned to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in light of an expected presidential firing, although the specifics of that report soon came under scrutiny — and eventually, some clarified that he’d “offered his resignation,” but it wasn’t accepted. Only time will tell, perhaps.
He’s been under intense scrutiny lately thanks to a report that he’d floated the idea of wearing a wire to capture some of the chaos of the Trump administration. From there, he’d suggested removing Donald Trump from office via the 25th Amendment’s provisions against an incapable president serving, although some say that was a joke.
Apparently, enough people don’t think it was a joke to warrant the pressure pushing Rosenstein out.
In a sit-down with Geraldo Rivera taped before Monday, the president refused to shoot down the idea of firing Rosenstein, saying instead that the matter was simply under consideration. Trump’s political base has gone after Rosenstein in the past to the point of filing articles of impeachment against him over his refusal to go along with their politicization of the Russia investigation.
The shake-up has potential significant ramifications outside of the immediate concern of who’s going to do Rosenstein’s job. He has — or had? — been the Department of Justice official responsible for overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and this reported imminent, possible departure is perhaps the most earth rattling development in awhile on that front. What comes next for the investigation that the president has pushed and pushed to shut down remains to be seen at this point. In Rosenstein’s absence, Solicitor General Noel Francisco would take on oversight.
UPDATE, 11:00 A.M Eastern Time:
That’s the thing, though. Early Monday, conflicting reports burst onto the scene about whether Rosenstein really had resigned — or “offered his resignation” — or not, so stay tuned.
CNN reported the following: