Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is preparing to be fired by President Donald Trump several sources told NBC News Friday.
Reports swirled earlier this week that the White House is ramping up to undermine Rosenstein’s integrity. According to CNN, allies of the president are being prepped on anti-Rosenstein talking points that will ultimately communicate that the deputy has a significant conflict of interest with the Russia investigation.
Sources indicated to NBC that Rosenstein has been having several private conversations with colleagues repeating the phrase “Here I stand,” a reference to a quote from Martin Luther’s remarks at the 1521 Diet of Worms: “Here I stand, I can do no other.”
One individual who spoke with Rosenstein several times told NBC that the second in command seems less anxious about his anticipated ousting. This news comes only days after news broke that Rosenstein reportedly greenlit the raid of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room.
The president, for his part, was irate: “Attorney–client privilege is dead!” Trump said in a Tuesday morning tweet.
He followed up that the ongoing Russia probe is “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT!!!”
Sources familiar with the president’s thinking told the New York Times that Trump began questioning aides and confidants earlier this week on whether or not he should fire Rosenstein. Many pushed back on the notion, echoing lawmakers claims that such a move would be disastrous.
If ousted, Rosenstein would likely be replaced by Solicitor General Noel Francisco though Trump has the ability to appoint any individual who has received Senate confirmation.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, however, that there are “no personnel announcements” after reporters questioned his employment status during the Friday daily press briefing.