Donald Trump said on Monday that he has no plans to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, telling reporters that they “get along very well,” USA Today is reporting.
Trump and Rosenstein met aboard Air Force One on Monday morning, while Trump was flying to Orlando, Florida, for a rally. The two had initially been in discussions to meet in late September, but those plans were aborted at the last minute.
Rosenstein is the Justice Department’s second-in-command, after embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions himself has repeatedly been the subject of the president’s ire, beginning after Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. That move made Rosenstein the point man on the investigation — and he appointed Robert Mueller, another man whom Trump has suggested that he might fire. Mueller remains on the job, and the investigation — which Trump has repeatedly called a “witch hunt” — continues as Trump puts pressure on Mueller to wrap it up.
Rosenstein, for his part, was the subject of reports appearing last month in The New York Times. Said reports intimated that he was angling to secretly get dirt on the president in order to get him removed from office.
Specifically, according to NPR News, The New York Times claimed that Rosenstein had suggested that he could wear a covert recording device and secretly tape Trump in order to gather evidence that Trump was unstable. Rosenstein would then, according to the rumors, invoke the 25th Amendment to have Trump removed from office.
The 25th Amendment — ratified in the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy — lays out the process of presidential succession should the president or vice president be forced to step down in the case of death, resignation, or incapacitation. Many of the president’s most vocal critics have suggested that Trump is mentally unfit for office and that the Amendment should be invoked in order to remove him, Newsweek details.
Rosenstein, however, vehemently denies that he ever suggested such a thing. In response to the reportage from The New York Times, Rosenstein called the reports “factually inaccurate.” Other reports suggest that — though Rosenstein did supposedly say those things — he was being sarcastic.
Trump, however, apparently wanted to get to the bottom of it and said that the two would be meeting to discuss his future at the FBI. An initial meeting was scheduled for late September, but Trump scrapped the meeting in order to focus on efforts to get his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, confirmed.
However, following today’s meeting, it appears that Rosenstein’s future at the FBI is secure — for now.