Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly told confidantes he's prepared to be fired soon — and he's more than ready for his final act.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has reportedly told confidantes in recent days that he is prepared to be fired by Trump — and he's all but daring Trump to make his move.
Citing sources close to Rosenstein, NBC News reported Friday that Rosenstein, who is in charge of the Russia probe, is "fully aware he may soon lose his job."
Recent reports suggest that this is a very real possibility. According to the Wall Street Journal, two people who spoke to Trump this week said they came away with the impression that both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions would soon be fired.
"It’s a matter of when, not if," one source told the WSJ.
But Rosenstein is reportedly at peace with the possibility that he's about to be dismissed and is "confident he [did] his job with integrity."
Sources described Rosenstein's tone as "stoic and righteous."
This comes one day after CNN reported that the White House is preparing talking points aimed at undermining Rosenstein's credibility. Trump apparently plans to use his surrogates and right-wing media allies to launch a smear campaign against Rosenstein, hoping that he can build a case for firing him without it looking like he's interfering in the Russia probe.
According to CNN, the plan calls on Trump's allies "to cast Rosenstein as too conflicted to fairly oversee the Russia investigation."
Rosenstein was appointed to his current position by Trump in January 2017.
Trump reportedly hopes to convince people that Rosenstein is close friends with Comey, and that he is using the Russia investigation to get revenge for the firing of "one of his best friends."
The only problem with that talking point? Rosenstein and Comey aren't friends.
Moreover, Rosenstein was harshly critical of Comey's work and even wrote the memo that was used to justify his firing.
Trump has also suggested that Rosenstein acted inappropriately when he reauthorized the DOJ's application for a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrant to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. This is the same application that Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) tried to turn into a controversy during his failed memo stunt.
But that talking point has already been debunked, too.
For one thing, no one acted inappropriately — a fact that even Sessions was forced to admit. On top of that, Rosenstein signed a reauthorization of a warrant that was first authorized long before he arrived, and after the DOJ had shown evidence that the warrant was providing valuable information.
But Trump is apparently fuming over the recent FBI raid of properties belonging to his personal lawyer Michael Cohen, and he's looking for someone to blame.
Trump views Rosenstein as the cause of his problems, despite the fact that he brought the investigation on himself — and then proceeded to spend the next year rage-tweeting so hard that he forgot he wasn't supposed to publicly admit to potential obstruction of justice.
Trump clearly has no legitimate reason to fire Rosenstein, and Rosenstein clearly knows it. Of course, that doesn't mean Trump won't do it, but if he does, we'll all know why: because he's terrified of Rosenstein and even more terrified of the truth.
Similar actions by former President Richard Nixon led to his impeachment. If Trump chooses to follow in his footsteps, he should prepared to meet a similar fate.