Rosenstein likely to exit as Deputy AG, say reports

US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 polls.
US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 polls.

WASHINGTON • United States Deputy Attorney-General (AG) Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, headed to the White House yesterday amid reports he has offered to resign in anticipation of being fired by President Donald Trump, media reports said.

Mr Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official, verbally resigned to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Axios reported, citing an unidentified source with knowledge of the matter. A second source told Axios that Mr Rosenstein is "expecting to be fired" so he plans to step down.

However, NBC News reported that Mr Rosenstein said he would not resign and the White House would have to fire him.

The Deputy AG plays a key role in overseeing the probe by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into whether Mr Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

Mr Rosenstein assumed supervision of the probe after his boss, Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, recused himself because of his own contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington while serving as a Trump campaign adviser.

There was widespread speculation that Mr Trump would fire Mr Rosenstein after a New York Times report on Friday said he had suggested last year secretly recording Mr Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from office. The Times said none of those proposals came to fruition. Mr Rosenstein called the report "inaccurate and factually incorrect".

MSNBC and CNN reported Mr Rosenstein was summoned for a meeting at the White House yesterday. Mr Trump has regularly dismissed the Mueller investigation as a"witch hunt".

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2018, with the headline 'Rosenstein likely to exit as Deputy AG, say reports'. Print Edition | Subscribe