Trump says he'd 'certainly prefer not' to fire Rosenstein

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If Rosenstein were to resign or be fired, oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation would be passed to Solicitor General Noel Francisco, according to the Justice Department.

After Rosenstein's much-publicized meeting Monday at the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Rosenstein had spoken to Mr. Trump on the phone and would meet with him in person when the president returned from NY.

"It's become pretty clear with The New York Times blockbuster story, which is really not like The New York Times to present something that would hurt their radical resistance agenda when they reported that Rosenstein had effectively met with other deep state comrades and had discussions about wearing a wire and recording the president - and additionally invoking the 25th Amendment to try to get rid of this president", the conservative legal expert pointed out.

The president initially set his meeting with Rosenstein for Thursday, the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee scheduled a hearing on the allegations against Kavanaugh. Speaking at the United Nations earlier, Trump said a time and location for the talks would be announced in the near future, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to travel to Pyongyang in October to discuss the matter further.

"I'm going to meet with [Rosenstein] tomorrow", said Trump.

That's why he said he may call Rosenstein and "ask for a little delay for this meeting".

Rosenstein denied the Times' accounting of events. I would certainly prefer not doing that. Noting Thursday's meeting, he said, "I think we shouldn't step in the way of that".

The question now is for how much longer.

Allies such as Fox News host Sean Hannity have accused the Federal Bureau of Investigation of leaking the damaging information on Rosenstein in the hope that Trump would fire him, setting off another firestorm just weeks before elections that will determine political control of Congress. Trump has been critical of Rosenstein's oversight of the probe, but the two have at times displayed a warm working relationship, and Rosenstein has been spared some of the more personal and antagonistic broadsides leveled against Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Rosenstein's friends and former colleagues describe him as exceptionally committed to the Justice Department - one said he "bleeds" for the agency - and unlikely to leave on his own, though they say he respects the chain of command enough to resign if asked.