President Donald Trump said he has no plans to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as they prepared to talk about his future on a trip aboard Air Force One.
“I get along very well with him,” Trump said Monday in remarks to reporters before they boarded the plane for a speech by the president to a law enforcement group in Orlando, Florida.
Rosenstein’s future appeared in doubt after the New York Times reported last month that he had raised the possibility of secretly recording Trump and trying to build support to invoke a constitutional provision that allows the cabinet to remove the president. Rosenstein denied the report.
Trump already had been critical of Rosenstein for his oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.
The president had previously planned a meeting with Rosenstein but postponed it until the Senate dealt with sexual-assault allegations against his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. The Senate voted to confirm Kavanaugh on Saturday.
If Sessions Goes
Some Republican lawmakers have suggested the president may force changes at the Justice Department, including ousting Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after the November midterm elections. Trump could then pick someone to serve as acting attorney general while he decides who to nominate to go through the Senate confirmation process.
If Sessions agrees to resign, his replacement as acting attorney general would have the power to take charge of Mueller’s investigation — including ending it or curbing it — so long as the person didn’t have a conflict of interest.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller and oversees his work because Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russia’s interference, whether anyone around Trump colluded in it and whether the president sought to obstruct justice.
One likely candidate to become acting attorney general is Matthew Whitaker, who currently serves as Sessions’s chief of staff and who served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Iowa from 2004 to 2009, according to two people familiar with the matter.