White House postpones meeting between Donald Trump, US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to next week
‘I would much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein,’ Trump said at a news conference in New York; Rosenstein is overseeing the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and his dismissal would put it in jeopardy
A highly anticipated meeting between US President Donald Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has been postponed until next week to avoid conflicting with a dramatic Senate hearing involving Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the White House said Thursday.
The two were set to meet Thursday following news media reports that Rosenstein last year discussed possibly secretly recording the president and using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
But White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the men agreed to reschedule their meeting because “they do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing”.
Amid speculation that the meeting could result in Rosenstein’s dismissal or resignation, Trump said Wednesday that he would “certainly prefer not” to fire Rosenstein and that the Justice Department’s No. 2 official had denied making the remarks first attributed to him in a New York Times report.
“I would much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein,” Trump said at a news conference in New York. “He said he did not say it. He said he does not believe that. He said he has a lot of respect for me, and he was very nice and we’ll see.”
Trump added, “My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up.”
White House counsellor Kellyanne Conway would not say Thursday when the meeting would take place, but stressed that the two will talk and Trump has made clear “he would prefer that the deputy attorney general stay on the job and complete the job”.
Rosenstein is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and his dismissal would put that probe in jeopardy and create a political storm.
The meeting delay prolongs the uncertainty of Rosenstein’s status.