Politics Exclusive: Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein tells confidantes he is prepared to be fired

20:23  13 april  2018
20:23  13 april  2018 Source:   nbcnews.com

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SHAPIRO: So Rod Rosenstein is the deputy attorney general, but he oversees Mueller, the special They've been asked by the president. I'm told that Rosenstein deflected the question when Trump SHAPIRO: Rod Rosenstein has been involved in a lot of key events like firing the former FBI

Rod Rosenstein told senators it was Trump’s decision, not his. When Rosenstein was nominated for the deputy AG role, Comey reportedly told a confidante , “I have some concerns.”

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a news conference with other law enforcement officials at the Justice Department on March 23. © Yuri Gripas U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a news conference with other law enforcement officials at the Justice Department on March 23. WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has struck a stoic and righteous tone in private conversations he has had this week about the fate of his job as President Donald Trump has launched public criticism against him and considered firing him, according to three sources who have spoken to Rosenstein.

In those conversations, he has repeated the phrase, "Here I stand," a reference to Martin Luther's famous quote, "Here I stand, I can do no other." Coincidentally, former FBI Director James Comey, whom Rosenstein fired, repeated the same phrase to President George W. Bush in a conversation that has been widely reported and that Comey describes in his forthcoming book.

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One source who spoke to Rosenstein said he seemed fully aware he may soon lose his job and was at peace with the possibility, confident he had done his job with integrity.

Rosenstein has said in recent private conversations that history will prove he did the right thing by firing Comey in May 2017, claiming that the American people do not have all the facts about what led to his decision to write the memo that led to Comey's dismissal, the sources said.

Those same sources spoke to Rosenstein multiple times over the course of his tenure as the No. 2 attorney at the Justice Department and say Rosenstein now seems less anxious than he has been at previous times when the president has criticized him.

They previously described Rosenstein as anxious and upset under the pressure of public criticism for his role in the firing of Comey as well as the president's wrath for his subsequent decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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In separate closed-door meetings with the House and the Senate, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein defended his controversial memo. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered a stunning rebuke of fired FBI Director James Comey to members of Congress this week—arguing he

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Particularly in early summer 2017, around the time he fired Comey, and towards the end of the year as Trump increased his public denunciations of Rosenstein, sources say they witnessed the deputy attorney general's anxiety flare, sometimes in late-night phone calls.

Rosenstein, who served under both Republican and Democratic presidents as a U.S. attorney, took over the Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March 2017 after reports surfaced about Sessions' interactions with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions said he recused himself in order to avoid the appearance of conflict since he worked as a campaign surrogate, but that the meetings were within the scope of his duties as a U.S. senator at the time.

If Rosenstein is fired, the next in line to oversee Mueller's probe is Solicitor General Noel Francisco, though Trump could choose to replace Rosenstein with anyone who has been confirmed by the Senate.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning that Rosenstein was perhaps more conflicted than Mueller because he "signed FISA and Comey letter," referring to the authorization for surveillance of former Trump campaign operative Carter Page as well as the memo that fired Comey.

Alan Dershowitz, a criminal defense lawyer who has publicly defended Trump against the Mueller probe, said Rosenstein should be recused from overseeing the Russia investigation because he is a witness to issues under investigation, such as the firing of Comey. Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon has also called on Trump to fire Rosenstein this week.

The Justice Department and Rosenstein declined to comment on the content of these private conversations.

Gingrich: Trump ‘mishandled’ Rosenstein memo on Comey .
Former House Speaker New Gingrich (R-Ga.) criticized President Trump on Sunday for "mishandling" the release of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's memo outlining the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. "First of all, I urge everybody to read the original Rosenstein memo about Comey, which Trump totally mishandled," Gingrich said during a panel on "Fox News Sunday," according to the Washington Examiner.Gingrich said Trump should have released the memo "in a state of shock." "Let the country, through Sunday talk shows, deal with the memo. It's devastating.

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