President Donald Trump has been fuming over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has made several comments wanting to remove him from office, as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
According to The Hill, Trump told a source that Trump even said outright: “let’s fire him, let’s get rid of him.”
White House counsel Don McGahn even threatened to resign after he would not go along with a plan to fire Mueller. Rosenstein is Mueller’s immediate superior at the department.
Now, Rosenstein is speaking out against Trump for the first time publicly. While he didn’t mention him by name, he’s saying unequivocally that Mueller’s job is protected as long as he remains at the Department of Justice.
“The special counsel is not an unguided missile,” Rosenstein said in an exclusive interview with USA TODAY. “I don’t believe there is any justification at this point for terminating the special counsel.”
“I believe much of the criticism will fall by the wayside when people reflect on this era and the Department of Justice,” said Rosenstein. “I’m very confident that when the history of this era is written, it will reflect that the department was operated with integrity.”
Rosenstein went on to say that everything at the department is on the up and up and he’s proud of the job they’ve been doing so far, which has already lead to multiple indictments against Russian actors and several of Trump’s top former aides.
“I feel very confident in my ability to do the job,” he said. “In any political job, you recognize that your time is going to be limited. My goal is to get as much done for as long as I’m here in the job.”
“And when my time is up, whenever that may be, I’m confident that I’m going to be able to look back proudly on the work our department has done while I’ve been fortunate enough to be here.”
Rosenstein has said in the past that he would need “good cause” to fire Mueller. After many months, he hasn’t found any, despite the president’s claims.
Trump has been criticized for wanting to get rid of Rosenstein only to impede the Russia investigation. Trump thinks it’s taking too long and wishes to speed things up.
Trump’s lawyers are trying to negotiate a deal with Mueller to end the investigation shortly after (and if) the president grants an interview. With that said, Mueller is said to be using Trump’s interview after he already has everything else figured out. Trump will be the last piece of the puzzle in possible obstruction of justice and/or perjury charges.