Trump and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein set to meet amid conflicting resignation and firing reports.
WASHINGTON – An attorney for President Donald Trump called Monday for “a review” of the Russia election investigation if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein leaves his post.
“I think it’s really important that there be a step back taken here, and a review,” attorney Jay Sekulow said during his radio show as Rosenstein traveled to the White House for a meeting about his future.
A Rosenstein replacement should conduct a review “that has to be thorough and complete,” Sekulow said, later calling it “basically a time-out of this inquiry.”
Sekulow spoke amid reports that Rosenstein would resign or be fired Monday, and before Trump announced that he would be meeting his deputy attorney general on Thursday about his job status.
Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel for the investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, and whether there were any links to the Trump campaign.
Mueller is also investigating whether Trump has tried to obstruct the investigation.
Trump, who has denied wrongdoing and described the investigation as a “witch hunt,” is scheduled to meet with Rosenstein on Thursday in the wake of reports that he had talked in 2017 of possibly invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
Rosenstein, who has denied the accusations, had discussed his possible resignation in a meeting Saturday with White House chief of staff John Kelly, according to a source familiar with the matter. The source, who is not authorized to comment publicly, said Rosenstein attended another meeting with Kelly at the White House on Monday and had expected to be fired.
Sekulow, fellow Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani, and the president himself have long complained about the way the FBI has conducted the investigation, and accused members of Mueller’s team of political bias. They have called for a separate probe into investigators’ tactics.
Congressional Democrats accused Trump of trying to eject Rosenstein as a way to undercut the Department of Justice in general and the Mueller inquiry in particular.
“Under no circumstances should Rod Rosenstein resign,” tweeted Rep. Adam Schiff, D-California, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “This would place the Mueller investigation in even greater jeopardy.”
Schiff added: “Rosenstein should continue to do his job, protect the independence of the DOJ, and if the President intends to obstruct justice, force Trump to fire him.”
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