The White House said Monday there was ‘no consideration’ being given to firing top Justice Department official Rod Rosenstein – after President Trump raised doubts by failing to express confidence in him.
‘There’s no consideration about any personnel moves at the Justice Department,’ White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters aboard Air Force One en route to Ohio with the president.
He was asked about Rosenstein just days after Trump frowned and didn’t respond directly when asked about the topic Friday.
President Trump got asked whether he had confidence in Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of an exposive GOP memo Friday.
‘You figure that one out,’ Trump responded, with a look of obvious displeasure on his face.
President Donald Trump declined to say if he had confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who overseas the Mueller probe. ‘You figure that one out,’ he said
Rosenstein was listed as among a number of officials who had signed off on surveillance for Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. Rosenstein had signed off on one renewal.
The topic is of major interest to those following the Russia probe. Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller.
Leading Democrats warnedTrump Friday that firing Rosenstein would trigger a ‘constitutional crisis.’
The Democrats provided the warning after Trump declined to express confidence the the veteran official overseeing special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe.
Trump’s refusal to express confidence in Rosenstein prompted an immediate response from Democrats, including House minority leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, who wrote him about it.
The White House comment on Rosenstein came after President Trump on Friday declined to express confidence in him
Also signing on to the Democratic letter were the top Democrats on the two Intelligence committees, Rep. Adam Schiff from the House and Sen. Mark Warner from the Senate.
Trump on Monday mocked Schiff as ‘little Adam Schiff,’ who he said was ‘desperate’ to run for higher office.
Intelligence GOP member Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina backed up Rosenstein on a Sunday talk show.
‘I don’t,’ he said, asked if Rosenstein should be fired, appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
‘I think it is fair to ask the deputy attorney general, ‘What did you know at the time you signed one of the applications?’ I think it is fair to ask, ‘What FISA reforms are you going to implement to make sure we don’t have this fact pattern come up again?’ I don’t judge people based on a single decision that they make throughout the course of an otherwise really stellar career,” said Gowdy.
President Donald Trump called the revelations in a GOP memo a ‘disgrace’
CURRENTLY EMPLOYED: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein participates in a chat about the state of the internet, hosted by The Internet Society, on January 29, 2018 in Washington, DC
‘We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted act as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation,’ the lawmakers wrote.
‘Firing Rod Rosenstein, DOJ Leadership or Bob Mueller could result in a constitutional crisis of a kind not seen since the Saturday Night Massacre,’ the Democrats wrote.
Mueller continues to probe Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The letter followed the release of a GOP Intelligence panel memo that they called a ‘transparent attempt to discredit the hard-working men and women of law enforcement who are investigating Russia’s interference with our Presidential election and that nation’s ties to your campaign.’
They wrote: ‘We are alarmed by reports that you may intend to use this misleading document as a pretext to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in an effort to corruptly influence or impede Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s investigation.’
The lawmakers, led by Pelosi and Senate minority leader Charles Schumer, add: ‘We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted action as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation. Firing Rod Rosenstein, DOJ Leadership, or Bob Mueller could result in a constitutional crisis of the kind not seen since the Saturday Night Massacre,’ they wrote.
I PLEDGE ALLIGIANCE … United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions (L) and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein stand for the pledge of allegiance at a summit about combating human trafficking at the Department of Justice in Washington, U.S., February 2, 2018
Also signing the letter were House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff of California and Senate Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Mark Warner of Virginia.
The were jointed by House minority whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, caucus chair Joe Crowley of New York, and Judiciary ranking member Jerry Nadler of New York, along with Senate Judiciary Committee ranking Member Dianne Feinstein of California and Senate Democratic whip Richard Durbin of Illinois.
Schiff called the memo ‘misleading’ and said it ‘cherry picked’ information to ‘help support the president’ and ‘discredit the Mueller investigation’ into Russian election interference, appearing on CNN.