Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump in the past, is expected to resign from his position in the Trump administration as he makes his way to the White House on Monday.
According to reporting from Axios, Rosenstein has already made his verbal resignation known to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Sources with knowledge of the exchange say that Rosenstein is “expecting to be fired,” and so plans to resign directly to Trump later today.
Rosenstein faced controversy over the weekend when a New York Times article was published with statements from several White House sources saying he had secretly planned to record Trump in the early months of his administration, hoping to use damaging information collected on those recordings to encourage officials in the White House to invoke the 25th Amendment. That amendment allows the vice president and at least half of the principal cabinet officers in the administration to remove a sitting president if they deem them unable to discharge their duties.
Rosenstein himself disputed that New York Times report in a statement, saying that the details of that article were “inaccurate and factually incorrect.
Rosenstein was on his way to the White House to speak with Trump when news of his impending resignation broke. His resignation is not yet confirmed, however, and as Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo points out, the administration has leaked resignations that didn’t come to fruition in the past.
Remember that admin has lied before about whether people resigned or were fired. So this may be an issue.
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 24, 2018
Rosenstein’s role as deputy attorney general is an important one, especially when it comes to the Russia investigation. After Trump had fired former FBI director James Comey, it fell to Rosenstein to find someone to fill in the role as special counsel for the investigation (Attorney General Jeff Sessions has officially recused himself from the inquiry). Rosenstein appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller, as the Washington Post reported in May 2017.
Trump has been critical for months as the investigation progresses, often directing his ire on Twitter at Mueller, according to reporting from Vox. But not all of his frustrations have been directed solely at Mueller — he’s also taken some shots at Rosenstein on the social media platform, as exemplified by the tweet below:
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
It is unclear as of yet whether Rosenstein will officially be fired or resign from his position, nor is it clear whether he will be removed from his role at all at this time.