WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Monday that his meeting with Rod Rosenstein went well, a development that comes less than a month after the deputy attorney general was rumored to be departing the administration.
“The press wants to know ‘what did you talk about?,’ ” Trump said during remarks before the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s annual conference. in Orlando, Fla. “We had a very good talk, I will say.”
While the president declined to give specifics, Deputy White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley painted a more complete picture.
“The President and Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, met for about 45 minutes aboard Air Force One,” Gidley said in a statement. “They discussed various topics including the International Chiefs of Police event later today, support for our great law enforcement officials, border security, how to better address violent crime in Chicago, and general DOJ business.”
According to Gidley, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and acting Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan attended as well.
The New York Times reported on Sept. 21 that Rosenstein had discussed taping Trump and invoking the 25th amendment — a constitutional maneuver to expel the president requiring the majority of the cabinet to declare him unfit for office — with former FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other officials last year.
In a statement quickly released after the article was published, the deputy attorney general said it was “inaccurate and factually incorrect.
“I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda,” Rosenstein said. “But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
The Washington Post reported shortly afterwards that a source privy to memos McCabe made said the comment on taping Trump may have been sarcastic.
The initial report prompted speculation that Rosenstein could be dismissed, a move that would carry additional weight since he is the sole Justice Department official overseeing Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
When asked at a Sept. 26 press conference in New York City during the UN General Assembly’s annual session if he intended to fire Rosenstein, Trump said: “I would certainly prefer not to do that.”