Trump postpones meeting with Rosenstein over Kavanaugh hearing

US president and deputy attorney general agree to meet next week, White House says

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein spoke briefly to President Donald Trump on Thursday, the White House said. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

US deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein spoke briefly to President Donald Trump on Thursday, the White House said. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

 

US president Donald Trump postponed his planned meeting with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, in order not to interfere with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing, the White House said.

Mr Trump said earlier this week that he would meet Mr Rosenstein on on his return from the United Nations general assembly in New York, following reports that Mr Rosenstein was poised to resign.

But shortly after Mr Trump’s return to Washington at lunchtime on Thursday, the White House said the president had spoken to Mr Rosenstein briefly and they had agreed to meet next week.

“They do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing,” said press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, referring to the testimony of Christine Blasey Ford and Brett Kavanaugh at the Senate judiciary committee.

Secret recording

Speculation about Mr Rosenstein’s future has mounted following reports last week that he suggested secretly recording Mr Trump in the weeks following FBI director James Comey’s dismissal by the president. He also reportedly discussed encouraging cabinet members to invoke article 25 of the constitution if the president was “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”.

Addressing the issue earlier this week, Mr Trump said Mr Rosenstein had denied the reports. “He said he has a lot of respect for me, and he was very nice,” adding: “We’ll see. My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up.”

Mr Rosenstein last year established the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, which Mr Trump has repeatedly described as a “witch hunt”. He is the top justice official with authority over the investigation, following attorney general Jeff Sessions’s decision to recuse himself.