There was a moment on Monday afternoon where it looked like all hell was about to break loose.
Axios, the New York Times, Business Insider, and other publications broke the news that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had tendered his resignation.
Oh no, wait, he was only thinking about offering his resignation, but it wasn’t clear if the White House would accept it.
Oh hold on, no, the story is that Trump demanded Rosenstein’s resignation, but Rosenstein refused and said, “Fire me, big man!”
Hmm, no, no, it looks like Rosenstein is still Deputy AG, nothing has changed, and he will meet with Trump on Thursday when the president gets back from the United Nations.
Quite the hour or two…
Anyway, we’re going to tame our cries of “fake news” for the time being, because it definitely seems like at least some of that whirlwind nonsense was based in fact. There were too many independent reporters confirming some version of the same story. And even when the White House released a statement…well, let’s just say it didn’t include the world’s biggest vote of confidence in the Deputy Attorney General.
“At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. “Because the President is at the United Nations General Assembly and has a full schedule with leaders from around the world, they will meet on Thursday when the President returns to Washington, D.C.”
The drama, of course, stems from a New York Times story from Friday in which it was revealed that Rosenstein conspired to (or, as he frames it, joked about conspiring to) put someone in the room with President Trump who would wear a wire and record his interviews with prospective FBI director candidates. And that he was discussing putting together a crew of Cabinet officials, implementing the 25th Amendment, and throwing the president out of office. Trump was, understandably, none too pleased to hear these reports. This is not someone you want working for you, much less running an investigation into your campaign.
Will Trump pull the trigger on Thursday and send Rosenstein packing? We don’t have the slightest idea what to expect. Surely Trump recalls the furor that followed the firing of James Comey, and surely Republicans in Congress – already nervous about the midterms – are going to be urging him to hold off on any such action. At the same time, Trump is impulsive and may be at the end of his patience when it comes to the Mueller investigation.