Following news that a meeting between Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein and President Trump earlier this week went somewhat worse than both mens' teams had expected, three people who are purportedly close to Rosenstein say the embattled supervisor of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe is prepared for Trump to fire him.
While Rosenstein had once seemed incredibly stressed about the prospect of losing his job, he has finally moved past the anger and fear stage, and into the realm of acceptance, according to NBC News.
But in a detail from the story that can only be construed as incredibly insensitive and utterly lacking in self-awareness, Rosenstein has privately compared himself to the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Furthermore, Rosenstein has told friends he believes history will vindicate him for his behavior during the Trump era.
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.
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.
So, what happens to the Mueller probe if Rosenstein is fired? According to NBC News, the responsibility for supervising the investigation would fall to Solicitor General Noel Francisco - though Trump could try and replace Rosenstein with another Deputy AG. However, that individual would need to be confirmed by the Senate.
Some attorneys, including former "Dream Team" member Alan Dershowitz, have argued that Rosenstein should recuse himself from the Mueller probe altogether, considering that he is a witness to some of the behavior that Mueller is purportedly investigating. Meanwhile, former Chief Strategist Steve Bannon and several other Trump allies have taken to cable news this week to demand that Trump fire Rosenstein, who has served under Republican and Democratic presidents.
Of course, this isn't the first time that pressure has built up for Trump to fire Mueller and/or Rosenstein. In the past, he has always demurred.
But the FBI raid on Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney, has changed the political - not to mention the legal - calculus: Despite warnings from lawmakers, Trump has just about all the support he would need to give Rosenstein the axe.