Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is apparently at peace with the heightened possibility that President Donald Trump will fire him.
The deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has been telling associates he is prepared to be fired by President Donald Trump, NBC News reported Friday.
Rosenstein has repeated the phrase, "Here I stand" to associates over the last few days, according to the report. The phrase is a reference to Martin Luther's quote, "Here I stand, I can do no other."
The latest firestorm surrounding Rosenstein stems from his involvement in authorizing an FBI raid on the office and home of Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer.
When they raided Cohen's property on Monday, investigators seized, among other things, records of payments made to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump; records related to a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape featuring Trump; recordings Cohen made featuring his conversations with associates; and attorney-client communications between Trump and Cohen.
Following the revelations, Trump fumed that the FBI "broke into" Cohen's office and mused about firing Rosenstein. The president's anger is said to have hinged on his belief that the deputy attorney general had crossed the line and failed to shield him from the special counsel Robert Mueller.
Since the raids, the knives have come out for Rosenstein, with many of Trump's loyalists in the media and political spheres calling for his ouster.
According to CNN, the White House has begun putting together a list of talking points meant to discredit Rosenstein and paint him as biased.
The White House reportedly wants its allies to cast Rosenstein as conflicted because he is a critical witness in the Russia investigation and because he wrote the memo justifying FBI Director James Comey's firing last year. It also wants Trump's defenders to push the argument that Comey and Rosenstein are close friends and that the Cohen raid shows Rosenstein is effectively giving investigators a carte blanche to retaliate against Trump for firing Comey.
The raid on Cohen's office and home were a monumental and extraordinarily rare step. Legal experts said that because it involved searching a lawyer's office and seizing attorney-client communications, the move required multiple levels of authorization within the Justice Department. Experts say federal agents do not raid a law firm unless they determine that less intrusive measures, like sending a subpoena, would not work because there is a risk that the target may destroy or conceal evidence.
In the case of the Cohen raid, the Manhattan US attorney's office appears to have determined that not only was there enough evidence to obtain a warrant against Cohen, but that there was enough to get one targeting a lawyer's office for their client communications.
Following the raids, advisers close to Trump believe the ousters of Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are imminent.
"It's a matter of when, not if," one person close to Trump told The Wall Street Journal.