Rod Rosenstein, the seniormost official in the US Justice Department now overseeing the Robert Mueller probe into Russia's alleged meddling in the US 2016 elections is said to have verbally offered his resignation to Donald Trump's chief of staff John Kelly Monday.
While many observers asked how Congress could or would respond to multiple reports about the potential firing or resignation of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday, Frank Figliuzzi, a former assistant director at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, took another perspective on the issue.
After hours of reports from several publications that the Deputy Attorney General had either resigned or was expecting to be fired imminently, it appeared on Monday afternoon that he is still on the job, at least for another few days.
The latest reports are that Rosenstein's trip to the White House to meet with Trump was actually a pre-scheduled National Security Council meeting, and Rosenstein is not stepping down.
Rosenstein, who jump-started the Russian Federation probe when he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, has twice denied the NYT report.
The events are reminiscent of the "Saturday Night Massacre" - the evening that Richard Nixon fired his Attorney General, and his deputies, until he found someone willing to fire Archibald Cox, the Special Counsel investigating Watergate.
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Democratic lawmakers responded quickly, with statements and tweets warning the president to keep Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert S. Mueller's Russian Federation election meddling investigation.
Acting Associate Attorney General Jesse Panuccio, a former general counsel for Florida Gov. Rick Scott and the executive director for the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is higher on the Department of Justice's organizational succession chart but would not assume oversight of the Mueller investigation because he has not yet been confirmed by the Senate.
The allegation about Rosenstein detailed in last week's New York Times story was included in contemporaneous memos kept by ousted Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. They say the president should not fire him unless he believes he is lying.
Trump, who on Friday said that he would remove a "lingering stench" from the Justice Department, did not publicly reveal any plans over the weekend. "I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda".
Rosenstein's apparent reluctance to hamper Mueller's probe has long fed suspicions that Trump might try to delegate authority over the probe to more pliant subordinate - a scenario that came into fuller focus with rumors of Rosenstein's impending departure.
Congressional Republicans, Democrats and some Trump aides have warned for months that the president shouldn't fire Rosenstein, saying such a move could lead to impeachment proceedings if the Democrats retake the House in the upcoming mid-terms.
You can read Paste's first report here that recaps how this all began and largely reflects the early reporting today coming out of the White House. But let me be clear about this: "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment". "Nothing like a Constitutional crisis to distract from a Supreme Court Confirmation crisis", he tweeted.