Trump denies any plan to fire Rod Rosenstein

Despite deputy attorney general’s criticisms, men have ‘very good talk’ on ‘Airforce One’

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein follows White House chief of staff John Kelly out of “Air Force One” as they arrive with President Donald Trump in Orlando. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein follows White House chief of staff John Kelly out of “Air Force One” as they arrive with President Donald Trump in Orlando. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

 

US president Donald Trump said he had a “good talk” on Monday with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, the justice department official in charge of the federal investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and has no plans to fire him.

There has been widespread speculation that Mr Trump might oust Mr Rosenstein, a frequent target of Mr Trump’s tweeted criticism, after a New York Times report that he had made remarks about Mr Trump’s fitness for office and offered to record conversations with him.

Mr Rosenstein travelled with Mr Trump on Air Force One to Orlando on Monday, where the president gave a speech to police chiefs. Upon landing, Mr Rosenstein was seen smiling and appeared at ease as he walked down the front stairs of Air Force One alongside Mr Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly.

It was not immediately clear whether Mr Trump and Mr Rosenstein talked about the controversy during their 45-minute-long conversation on the flight, where Mr Kelly and another department of justice official, Ed O’Callaghan, were also present.

Border security

They talked about support for law enforcement officials, border security, crime in Chicago and “general DOJ business”, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said.

“The press wants to know, ‘What did you talk about?’” Mr Trump said at the start of his speech after he thanked Mr Rosenstein for being there and noted the intense media interest.

“We had a very good talk, I will say. That became a very big story, actually. We had a good talk,” Mr Trump said.

Mr Rosenstein has denied the September 21st New York Times report as “inaccurate and factually incorrect”. The article said that while Mr Rosenstein had made the suggestions over concern about chaos in the administration, none of them actually came to fruition.

Russia investigation

As he left the White House for Orlando, Mr Trump was asked by a reporter if he had any plans to fire Mr Rosenstein. “No I don’t, no,” he said.

Mr Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Russia denies interfering and Mr Trump says there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Firing Mr Rosenstein before the November 6th congressional elections could have political consequences. Democrats believe it would raise questions about whether Mr Trump would shut down the Mueller probe, which could energise their voters in House and Senate races.

Mr Trump told reporters earlier on Monday that he had a “good relationship” with Mr Rosenstein.

“I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him, and I get along very well with him,” he said. – Reuters