Three Senate Democrats are suing to oust acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker and replace him with deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie Hirono say President Trump went around the Constitution by appointing Whitaker to temporarily replace Jeff Sessions, who the president asked to resign. While Whitaker is just a temporary caretaker of the position, the Democrats see a great way to clog the pipes with a lawsuit while claiming Trump went around the Constitution’s “advise and consent” role for the Senate. Dems fear Whitaker will curtail the Robert Mueller investigation.
—QUOTABLE: “The U.S. Senate has not consented to Mr. Whitaker serving in any office within the federal government, let alone the highest office of the DOJ.” -The Three Dems
Maryland plans to sue President Trump’s administration over Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general. The president put the Mueller critic in place after forcing out Jeff Sessions, but the Maryland lawsuit asks a federal judge to undo that and declare Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as the new acting AG. Democrats are furious that Whitaker has oversight over Robert Mueller’s probe because, prior to joining the Justice Department, he made comments that were critical of the investigation.
Rep. Mark Meadows is calling for Rod Rosenstein to step down. The North Carolina Republican blasted the embattled deputy attorney general on Twitter on Thursday, calling for the immediate resignation based on new information he said he’s learned. Rosenstein was scheduled to meet with Republican lawmakers last week to answer questions on reports he said he wanted to wear a wire in conversations with President Trump—Rosenstein claims he was joking. Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, has been a leading voice urging Trump to fire Rosenstein, which Trump has indicated he will not do.
—QUOTABLE: “Based on additional information we’ve learned over the last week, it is clear Rod Rosenstein should resign immediately. He has not cooperated with Congress, failed to be transparent about his actions, and shown a lack of candor in the way he’s characterized a number of events.” -Meadows on Twitter
Rod Rosenstein says the Mueller investigation is “appropriate and independent.” The deputy attorney general who oversees Mueller’s probe told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that the special counsel has yielded results by exposing Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The interview ticked off some Capitol Hill Republicans, who have been pressuring President Trump to fire Rosenstein. Trump recently hinted he does not plan to do that.
—QUOTABLE: “People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that…But at the end of the day, the public will have confidence that the cases we brought were warranted by the evidence and that it was an appropriate use of resources.” -Rosenstein
A former FBI official says he thinks Rod Rosenstein was serious about taping President Trump’s conversations and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Former FBI attorney James A. Baker told congressional investigators he conversation happened in May 2017 not long after Trump fired FBI director James Comey. Baker, however, did not attend the meeting and simply didn’t think the deputy AG was joking when he made the comments. Trump recently hinted he will not fire Rosenstein despite months of bad blood between the two over his role overseeing the Mueller Russia investigation.
President Trump doesn’t plan to fire Rod Rosenstein. Trump said on Monday he has no plans to let the embattled deputy attorney general go, despite many months of bad blood between the two. The president’s comment came after the two spent time together on Air Force One, speaking for 45 minutes. The meeting was the much anticipated climax to weeks of speculation that Trump would can Rosenstein, who oversees the Robert Mueller probe and has been the subject of many a Trump tweet criticizing the investigation.
—QUOTABLE: “We flew down together…The press wants to know ‘What did you talk about?’ But we had a very good talk, I will say.” -Trump
—QUOTABLE: “I didn’t know Rod before, but I’ve gotten to know him, and I get along very well with him.” -Trump
President Trump postponed his meeting with Rod Rosenstein, which was set for Thursday. The two were supposed to meet to mull over Rosenstein’s future, but you might have heard there was a hearing going on. According to White House Sarah Sanders, Trump didn’t want to do anything to interrupt or interfere with the remarks by Kavanaugh and his accuser. But on Wednesday, the president offered a hint at the embattled bureaucrat’s fate: “My preference would be to keep him,” Trump told reporters. Rosenstein has fallen out of favor with the president because he oversees Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged collusion between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian agents. Sanders said the two will likely meet next week.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will meet with President Trump on Thursday to mull over his fate. The embattled bureaucrat, who was caught on tape joking about wearing a wire while talking to the president, was rumored to be on the chopping block just days ago. Now, many observers of The Swamp think he’ll hold onto his job for politics’ sake. Rosenstein first went to the White House on Monday, when many thought he’d leave an unemployed man, but the day of reckoning will have to wait. It’s generally accepted that the deputy AG—a focus of Trump’s ire for his role in the Russia investigation—will eventually be replaced, but perhaps only after the midterm elections, conventional wisdom goes.