President Donald Trump postponed a scheduled meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, in order to not distract from congressional hearings for his Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.
“The president spoke with Rod Rosenstein a few minutes ago and they plan to meet next week,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters. “They do not want to do anything to interfere with the hearing.”
The White House said earlier this week that the purpose of Trump and Rosenstein’s meeting would be to discuss the deputy attorney general’s future at the Justice Department, amid conflicting reports Monday that Rosenstein was either planning to resign or expecting to be fired.
By midweek, however, Trump appeared to have moved away from the idea of firing Rosenstein. “My preference would be to keep him,” Trump said at a news conference Wednesday afternoon in New York. “I would certainly prefer not” firing him.
Rosenstein’s position at the Justice Department is more visible than those of other officials because he is charged with overseeing the special counsel’s Russia probe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation.
Trump has effectively gone to war against his own Justice Department in the past year, primarily over the Russia probe, which is run by former FBI Director Robert Mueller. But the president is equally furious over what he sees as a failure by the department to protect him and his allies, and to pursue his political enemies.