U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he had a “good talk” with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Justice Department official in charge of the federal investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump added that he has no plans to fire him.
There has been widespread speculation that Trump might oust Rosenstein, a frequent target of Trump’s tweeted criticism.
Rosenstein traveled with Trump on Air Force One to Orlando on Monday, where the president gave a speech to police chiefs. Rosenstein, upon landing, was seen smiling and appeared at ease as he walked down the front stairs of Air Force One alongside Trump’s chief of staff, John Kelly. Trump said at the start of his speech after he thanked Rosenstein for being there and noted the intense media interest. “We had a very good talk, I will say. That became a very big story, actually. We had a good talk,” Trump said.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said that Trump and Rosenstein met for about 30 minutes during the flight. Gidley, however, declined to provide further details about the private discussion other than to say that Rosenstein still had a job. Rosenstein has denied the Sept. 21 New York Times report as “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
The article said that while Rosenstein had made the suggestions over concern about chaos in the administration, none of them actually came to fruition. As he left the White House for Orlando, Trump was asked by a reporter if he had any plans to fire Rosenstein. “No I don’t, no,” Trump said.
Report says Rosenstein oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Russia denies interfering and Trump says there was no collusion between his campaign and Moscow. Firing Rosenstein before the Nov. 6 congressional elections could have political consequences. Democrats believed it would raise questions about whether Trump would shut down the Mueller probe, which could energise their voters in House and Senate races. Trump told newsmen earlier that he has a “good relationship” with Rosenstein.