Rod Rosenstein recently met with Donald Trump at the White House, stoking fears that the president might fire him, POLITICO reported. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, is overseeing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into criminal activity by members of Trump’s campaign team.
The meeting, according to a source, concerned a matter that traditionally would not have warranted the president’s direct attention, leading some to believe that it was an overture to a firing. Joseph diGenova, an attorney who recently joined Trump’s legal team, called for Rosenstein’s dismissal on Fox News Wednesday night, and Trump has attacked Rosenstein on Twitter.
Firing Rosenstein, oversees the budget and subpoenas for Mueller’s investigation, would likely cause a backlash in Congress.
“If Rosenstein were to be fired with a view toward constraining the investigation, that would be in plain sight, in daylight a very deliberate crime, it would be an obstruction of justice,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, of New York. Nadler is the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Trump’s legal team’s relationship with the Mueller probe seems to have deteriorated this week. NBC News reported that negotiations between the two groups over a possible interview between Mueller and Trump stalled after the FBI raided the offices of Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer.
The reported subject of the Trump-Rosenstein meeting Thursday was the passing of documents from the Justice Department to Congress. Many congressional Republicans have accused DOJ of shortchanging them on providing copies of all kinds of documents. But Matthew Miller, a former press secretary under Obama, said it was highly unusual for Trump to go directly to the deputy AG to have that conversation.
“If he wants to use document production as a pretext to undermine a DOJ investigation or to fire DOJ officials then it is wholly inappropriate,” Miller said.