Trump says he’d ‘certainly prefer not’ to fire Rosenstein

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Trump said he might ask Rosenstein for a "little bit of a delay" on their meeting scheduled for Thursday, so that he can watch the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford, who's accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

The reports on Rosenstein's discussion with colleagues past year about covertly taping the president set off a firestorm in Washington, but the details remain in dispute.

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential ties between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign, Rosenstein took over supervision of the investigation.

The president's comments appeared to be good news for Rosenstein, who has been a political target of Trump and his allies in Congress for months.

"Hey, that's possible", Trump said.

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At one point, Mark Landler, a reporter from the New York Times requested to ask a question. "I never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false", Rosenstein said in a statement on Friday. While it remains unclear what will happen, White House officials have said Trump likely won't fire Rosenstein until after the midterm elections, and Justice Department officials have said they are skeptical Rosenstein will quit now. Unless you call obstruction the fact that I fight back, I really fight back.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller in May 2017, oversees his work and has repeatedly defended the breadth and scope of the probe. Some reports suggest that Mueller himself has investigated Trump's behavior, including his tweets, with respect to an obstruction probe.

But it could be sooner: Some officials around Trump believe Rosenstein's reported musings about invoking the 25th Amendment could make it defensible for Trump to part with him, even during the final sprint to Election Day.

Trump scheduled the meeting with Rosenstein to discuss his professional fate - and perhaps the future of the investigation into Russia's election interference in 2016.

Over the weekend, Rosenstein offered to resign, and said in particular he was willing to step aside if Trump would not disparage him.