Rod Rosenstein’s tenure as deputy attorney general and the top official overseeing the Russia investigation appears to be in peril after President Trump refused to say whether he had confidence in him, reports the Washington Post. After Trump authorized the release of a controversial memo on FBI surveillance practices by House Intelligence Committee Republicans, he was asked by a reporter whether he was more likely to fire Rosenstein and whether he had confidence in the 27-year DOJ veteran. “You figure that one out,” Trump replied.
The memo says Rosenstein signed an application to renew a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, and says that information justifying that and other warrant requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was tainted by political bias. The FBI has said it has “grave concerns” that the memo leaves out important material, creating an inaccurate impression of its work. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) said he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to seek criminal prosecution of Rosenstein and several former Justice Department officials whom he described as “traitors to our nation.” Top House and Senate Democrats told Trump, “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,” likening the possible outcome to the so-called Saturday Night massacre during the Nixon administration. At a DOJ event on Friday, Sessions went off-script to praise Rosenstein, saying he represents “the kind of quality and leadership that we want” at the Justice Department.