President Trump gave his clearest indication yet that he is preparing to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the NYT reported that Rosentein during a rally in Sringfield, Missouri. During the rally, Trump said that while his administration had cleaned house at the DOJ, a "lingering stench" has remained. But that too would soon be taken care of.
Trump's comments followed a revelation published by the New York Times about an attempted palace coup orchestrated by the Deputy Attorney General during the spring of 2017. After Trump cited a letter written by Rosenstein as justification for firing former FBI Director James Comey back in May 2017, Rosenstein reportedly felt embittered and "used" by the president. So he sought revenge by attempting to persuade members of the Trump cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and remove Trump from office. Rosenstein's plot quickly fizzled, but not before the deputy AG had suggested that the conspirators should attempt to surreptitiously record the president in the Oval Office.
News of the conspiracy, which was reportedly drawn from memos written by former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired earlier this year and may face criminal charges after purportedly lying to the DOJ inspector general, has provoked widespread calls for Rosenstein's ouster.
Because source is NY Slimes not sure this is true but if so, Jeff Sessions needs to fire Rosenstein and if he won’t @realDonaldTrump needs to fire both of them since Rosenstein doesn’t seem to have the integrity to resign. https://t.co/zi57L8b0LX— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 21, 2018
During Friday's rally, Trump emphasized that we have "great people" in the Department of Justice. And that, if his administration took a poll, "they'd probably be at 95%" support. "But there's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that group."
Trump has reportedly considered firing Rosenstein at least twice before, according to media reports, most recently after the FBI raided the home, hotel room and office of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen.
Rosenstein is in charge of the ongoing Russia probe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself last spring after Trump fired Comey, earning the enduring enmity of his boss.
Trump also continued to back his SCOTUS pick Brett Kavanaugh during the rally.
"Fantastic man. Fantastic man," Trump said of the judge.
"And he was born – you talk about Central Casting – he was born, they were saying it 10 years ago about him, he was born for it. And it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen," Trump said, referring to Kavanaugh's confirmation.
The president made his appearance in the state to stump for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in the Nov. 6 midterm vote.