President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly shown his utter disdain for the rule of law, the FBI and the Justice Department, has clearly put a big-ass target on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s back.
Rosenstein, however, says he is ret to go should that fateful day come.
The career prosecutor is, of course, overseeing the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election—an investigation that Trump has called “a witch hunt,” and the FBI’s and Justice Department’s handling of it “a disgrace.” And less than 24 hours ago, there was this:
MSN reports that the deputy AG has repeated the phrase, “Here I stand”—a reference to Martin Luther’s famous quote “Here I stand, I can do no other”—to several insiders this week.
Coincidentally (hilariously?), former FBI Director James Comey said the same phrase to former President George W. Bush as acting U.S. attorney general, according to his new book, A Higher Loyalty.
Rosenstein has said in recent private conversations that history will prove he did the right thing by firing Comey in May 2017, claiming that the American people do not have all the facts about what led to his decision to write the memo that led to Comey’s dismissal, the sources said.
Those same sources spoke to Rosenstein multiple times over the course of his tenure as the No. 2 attorney at the Justice Department and say Rosenstein now seems less anxious than he has been at previous times when the president has criticized him.
They previously described Rosenstein as anxious and upset under the pressure of public criticism for his role in the firing of Comey as well as the president’s wrath for his subsequent decision to appoint a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Rosenstein took over the Russia probe after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March 2017 after it was revealed that Sessions conveniently forgot that he met with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during the 2016 presidential campaign. Rosenstein’s No. 3, Rachel Brand, had the good sense to get the hell out of Dodge after nine months and signed onto an in-house counsel gig with Walmart in February.
If Rosenstein is fired, the next in line to oversee Mueller’s probe is Solicitor General Noel Francisco, although Trump could choose to replace Rosenstein with anyone who has been confirmed by the Senate.