Rosenstein’s future in balance as resignation rumours fly

Deputy attorney general, who set up inquiry into Russian meddling, to meet with Trump

Deputy Attorney Hon Rod J Rosenstein has discussed ways to remove US president Donald Trump from office. He's also fiercely defended the special counsel for the Russia investigation, Robert Muller - one of the president's most frequent targets. NYT

 

The future of US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein remained in the balance on Monday night amid reports that the senior US justice official was considering resigning.

After a morning of feverish speculation, the White House announced that Mr Rosenstein and US president Donald Trump would meet in Washington on Thursday, when the president is due to return from attending the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Asked about the future of the man who set up the Russia investigation, Mr Trump replied: “We’ll see what happens.

“We want to have transparency, we want to have openness, and I look forward to meeting with Rod.”

Mr Trump has consistently railed against the Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, accusing US justice and intelligence officials of being biased against him.

Huge implications

As the justice official overseeing the Mueller probe, Mr Rosenstein’s departure of could have huge implications for the inquiry.

Although technically responsibility for the investigation would likely fall to the solicitor general, a successor to Mr Rosenstein would have the power to curtail the probe.

Deputy US attorney general Rod Rosenstein waits for a hearing of the House Judiciary Committee on Oversight on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, today. Photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
The future of US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein remained in the balance on Monday night. File photograph: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Last week the New York Times reported that Mr Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording Mr Trump and had encouraged cabinet members to consider invoking the 25th amendment to the constitution to remove Mr Trump as president. Mr Rosenstein has denied the reports.

Mr Trump is due to give a keynote address to UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday

The second-in-command at the justice department attended meetings at the White House on Monday morning, prompting reports that he was resigning.

But the White House said that, at the request of Mr Rosenstein, he had an “extended conversation” with Mr Trump by phone about “recent news reports”, and they had agreed to meet on Thursday.

Stand-off

The prospect of a high-profile departure from the administration emerged amid a deepening stand-off over the nomination of supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, after a second allegation of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Republicans are seeking to confirm their pick for the court before November’s midterm elections, but Mr Kavanaugh’s nomination has been thrown into uncertainty over sexual misconduct allegations.

Mr Trump is due to give a keynote address to UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.

While last year Mr Trump lambasted North Korea in his speech, this year he is expected to turn his focus to Iran. The US pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May, in defiance of other international signatories to the agreement, including EU countries.

Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani will address the general assembly later on Tuesday.