Update: WSJ is now reporting that Rosenstein will not tender his resignation today -repudiating a report that sent US markets spiraling lower in mid-morning trade.
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After Friday night’s blockbuster NYT report in which, according to Andrew McCabe’s personal files, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to record President Trump (whether in jest or not) and proposed invoking Article 25, speculation has intensified that President Trump may fire Rosenstein imminently. And while many of Trump’s allies have urged caution, fearing a trap, moments ago Axios reported that Rosenstein has decided to preempt that step by verbally resigning to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge.
Within minutes of Axios’ report hitting the tape, several other media organizations (including ABC, AP ad Bloomberg) piled on, saying Rosenstein was on his way to the White House to be fired.
Per a source close to Rosenstein: “He’s expecting to be fired,” so he plans to step down.
The exact timing of the resignation is unclear, but he isn’t expected to be in job after Monday, according to another person familiar with the matter. The move comes after reports that Rosenstein suggested to colleagues last year that he would secretly record conversations with President Donald Trump.
Source says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is currently on his way to the White House, expecting to be fired once he gets there.
— Mike Levine (@MLevineReports) September 24, 2018
However, as the NYT clarified, it wasn’t immediately clear whether Rosenstein was going to resign, or if he was heading to the White House expecting to be fired. Complicating matters further, MSNBC is reporting that Rosenstein will not resign, as he will “have” to be fired.
MSNBC reporting Rosenstein will NOT resign, says he’ll have to be fired
— David Rutz (@DavidRutz) September 24, 2018
It’s worth pointing out that Trump is in New York City for the UN General Assembly. And while Bloomberg reported that Rosenstein’s resignation letter had been accepted, the NYT said it wasn’t clear whether Trump would even accept Rosie’s resignation so close to the mid-term elections, which would in effect force the Deputy AG to quit, or reluctantly stay on.
According to MSNBC, the office of the special counsel refused to comment on the story or say whether it had a new boss.
The news sent the S&P and the Dow to fresh session lows, leaving them on track for their biggest daily drop in a month, perhaps due to concerns the latest departure will lead to more political volatility as Trump seeks to end the Mueller probe.
If Rosenstein does leave, oversight of the Mueller probe would fall to Solicitor General Noel Francisco, who would reportedly be much more amenable to Trump. According to Bloomberg, Trump can install a temporary replacement as deputy attorney general until he nominates a successor to Rosenstein, who would have to be confirmed by the Senate.
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As one Twitter user noted, the uncertainty surrounding Rosenstein’s status has made for one jam-packed news cycle…
The news cycle: pic.twitter.com/DL1J7aL05x
— Parker Molloy (@ParkerMolloy) September 24, 2018