A rumor from a purported, anonymous White House staff member on Friday morning warned that Donald Trump may ignore the advice of his top aides and soon fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the official in charge of the Robert Mueller Russia investigation, because Mueller failed to write Trump a “letter of exoneration” clearing him of all possible collusion charges related to the 2016 presidential election.
The accuracy of the rumor could not be verified, as it started with a Twitter account under the name “Angry WH Staffer”, one of several “rogue” Twitter handles that claim to be operated by Trump administration and White House insiders who are, the accounts claim, secretly opposed to Trump and attempting to damage him by leaking information from within his own ranks.
Whether “Angry WH Staffer” holds the position that he or she claims to hold is unclear. But the Trump White House has been plagued with leaks during the administration’s first 11 months.
According to a CNN report earlier this week, Trump has privately been taking a more relaxed approach to the Russia investigation in recent days, apparently because for some reason he believes that Mueller is on the verge of clearing him.
In fact, Trump “seems so convinced of his impending exoneration that he is telling associates Mueller will soon write a letter clearing him that Trump can brandish to Washington and the world in a bid to finally emerge from the cloud of suspicion that has loomed over the first chapter of his presidency,” CNN’s sources told the network.
Hint: he didn't get his letter of exoneration and Rosenstein appears to be firmly in his crosshairs.— Angry WH Staffer (@AngrierWHStaff) December 22, 2017
Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced to recuse himself from matters regarding Russia, due to his own failure during Senate confirmation hearings to disclose meetings he held with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign, Rosenstein became the Justice Department official who appointed Mueller in May, just days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey — in part because of the Russia investigation, which was under Comey’s supervision.
Mueller essentially took over the investigation left to him by Comey, adding his own team of investigators and lawyers in addition to the FBI agents already on the case.
In order to fire Mueller, Trump would need to order Rosenstein to do it. However, Rosenstein told Congress in testimony last week that he sees no reason to terminate the special counsel.
“If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not,” Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee.
He then added that he currently saw no “good cause” to fire Mueller.
Firing Rosenstein could also slow the investigation to a halt, even if Trump does not fire Mueller because Trump could appoint a replacement for the deputy attorney general who would reject Mueller’s requests for new resources, or investigative directions, which must be approved by the Justice Department.
Earlier this week, sources close to Trump revealed that Trump considers Rosenstein a “threat to his presidency” and has falsely accused the deputy attorney general, who was appointed by Trump himself, of being “a Democrat.”
Rosenstein, in his testimony to Congress last week, said of Mueller, “It would’ve been difficult to find anyone more qualified for this job.”
Whether it is real or some kind of elaborate hoax, the “Angry WH Staffer” Twitter account has amassed 49,500 followers since it was created in April, guaranteeing that the rumor over Trump’s alleged pique regarding Mueller’s failure to write a “letter of exoneration” will likely spread.