tv At This Hour With Kate Bolduan CNN September 24, 2018 8:00am-9:00am PDT
along with kaitlan collins. shimon, the analysis, shan, the breaking news. >> are we watching a saturday night massacre in slow motion here? i'm jim sciutto. thanks for watching us today. at this hour with kate bolduan starts right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> hello, everyone. i'm kate bolduan. we're going to continue with the breaking news, really an amazing development this morning on the fate of deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, the man who appointed robert mueller, who kick started the special counsel's russia investigation. a source tells cnn that rosenstein has submitted his resignation. this comes after a bombshell report in "the new york times" friday, reporting that rosenstein discussed secretly recording conversations with president trump and also discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove trump from office last year in the chaotic
days after president trump fired then-fbi director james comey. rosenstein, since that reporting came out friday, has denied the story twice. but now, we're here. let's get over to the white house. kaitlan collins is there. what's the latest that you know? >> so there is a lot of conflicting reporting right now. so many reports coming out, but what we know, kate, is rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, offered to resign to john kelly. it's unclear when exactly that happened, whether it was yesterday or today. that's what we're figuring out right now. we do know he's offered his resignation to the president's chief of staff. of course, kate, that comes after that bombshell reporting that he had considered wearing a wire to meet with the president or encouraging other members like the vice president, the attorney general at the time, the dhs secretary, to remove the president from office. those are allegations that rod rosenstein has denied vehemently in two statements on friday
alone, but what we know is that that second statement from rod rosenstein we got denying he had any conversations about having someone wear a wire to meet with the president or anything about the 25th amendment, that came after the white house said his first statement was not strong enough. it wasn't strong enough of a denial of the bombshell "new york times" reporting. so then he issued a second statement saying as much. clearly, this has been a big discussion in the west wing over the last few days. the president and the deputy attorney general have had a very -- a lot of tension in their relationship at times over the time that they have both been in office. and now it seems that relationship has come to an end and that rod rosenstein didn't think he could stay in this position anymore, and of course, we have reporting from laura jarrett that a lot of this had to do with the fact that he thought he was going to be fired after that story came out, which seemed like a pretty sure thing to most people who read that story and know how the president feels, that there are people in this administration who are working to undermine him. but we haven't seen such a strong reaction from the president in public that a lot
of people thought they would see after that story came out. we had that one comment from him at the rally in missouri on friday night when he said there is a lingering stench at the justice department and that it was -- they were going to get rid of it, but we know that in private, the president actually has been pretty consumed with the drama surrounding his supreme court nominee over the last few days and hasn't focused on the rosenstein story as much as people predicted he would. now, that doesn't mean he hasn't focused on it at all. it clearly was a big topic of conversation among senior officials discussing how they move forward with this when they have reports of conversations about removing the president from office, and clearly, rod rosenstein has been having conversations like that of his own and he's offered to resign to the chief of staff, john kelly, at this time. >> yeah, absolutely. all right, stick close with me for our viewers while we're looking at this awkward shot of a rainy day at the white house that you're seeing. this would be the angle over the fence where we would see if we did see deputy attorney general
rod rosenstein. we could possibly catch a glimpse of him going into the white house if he were heading there. we're keeping an eye on that. >> at this moment, let's get over to laura jarrett with new reporting on all of this. laura, what do you have? >> hey, there, kate. we're learning a little more about what happened over the weekend. and it might explain why there's a little discrepancy in some of the reports that we're seeing just breaking right now. i'm told by a source familiar with all that has transpired here is that over the weekend, on saturday, the deputy attorney general spoke to john kelly, and that he talked about resigning. he talked about what that would look like. but he did not actually resign. he just talked about thinking about it. but he wanted to work out the timing and some other matters surrounding it. and the white house didn't do anything with that. but then, he went over there today, and we're going to have to see what happens, but he has not actually resigned. the white house, as i understand it, would not agree to some of the conditions he was setting out like timing. that's why you see something of a standoff happening right now,
but as of this moment, there is still a deputy attorney general, and that person is rod rosenstein. what happens in the next few seconds i can't predict, but as of this weekend, he had not officially resigned but he had talked about it with john kelly. so that might explain a little bit of how we're seeing some of the conflicting reports playing out here, kate. >> laura, real quick, when you say some of the conditions that were being discussed regarding a possible resignation, coming to timing, are you getting any indication, any more detail about that? >> we're trying as hard as we can to figure out when he said he would do it, but all i know is that the white house wouldn't agree to it. and that is part of why you see this back and forth playing out right now. but again, he's expected to be at the white house later today, and we still have not seen a statement from the president, who is the person who would be the one to fire him, not john kelly, kate. >> excellent point. all right, laura, and remember, the president is here in new york. rod rosenstein would be at the white house in washington, d.c.
let's take one step at a time and figure out where we are at this moment. thank you very much. let us know, laura is getting a ton of great reporting coming in. a big question about this is what are the ripple faeblths, the domino effects? that leads to what does it mean for the russia investigation. shimon prokupecz is joining me for more on that. what's your take? >> so, i think the reason why we're seeing this sort of back and forth fired versus resigned, there's an important distinction. what's important is how this investigation proceeds, the russia investigation, how things move forward. also, if the deputy attorney general is fired, could that perhaps, and this is important, be viewed as obstruction by the special counsel, by the mueller team? because we know that the president has publicly sort of hinted that he's wanting to fire rod rosenstein. he's wanted a complete change at the department of justice. and one of those reasons is because what he believes is this ongoing witch hunt in the russia investigation. that's why i think there's this
whole back and forth. they, of course, the white house, probably would prefer that rod rosenstein just resign and go away. rod may be holding down and saying you know, no, if you want me to go, you have to fire me because he's denied this report in "the new york times" that he was serious about recording the president in some way, either a wire or some other secret method. now, if rod rosenstein is no longer the deputy attorney general, there is another person there, the solicitor general, who would essentially take over the russia investigation and then the special counsel, robert mueller, would report to him. what's important here is rod rosenstein has been with this investigation since he was appointed at the deputy attorney general, since robert mueller had taken over the investigation. and mueller has been reporting to him, has been briefing him, has been giving him information about where the investigation is going. rod rosenstein has been signing off on indictments, on subpoenas, on other actions that
the special counsel has been taking. and of course, the big thing is what's going to happen to that interview that the special counsel wants to conduct with the president. you know, ultimately, there was some talk of perhaps subpoenaing the president. rod rosenstein would be the ultimate decider of that, so with a new person who takes over for rod, would that person sign off on something like this? there's a whole host of questions that really we just can't answer until we know for certain that a new person has been appointed and that new person will oversee this russia investigation. perhaps there has always been concerns that whoever the new person comes in would shut down the investigation. probably highly unlikely because then we would see a whole host of events and a whole chain of events that would unfold if that was to happen. but certainly, this now brings up a whole new issue, a whole new set of facts in this entire russia investigation. if in fact, especially, kate, just one last point, if in fact, look, the special counsel knows
about this meeting that andrew mccabe, the former deputy director, the fbi director, had with rod rosenstein where this idea of perhaps recording the president came up. they have the memos. they procedure have talked to people who have been in the meetings or at least they can. and if they in fact determine that the deputy -- rod rosenstein, the deputy attorney general was not serious about this and sort of was joking and then the president uses this as an excuse to fire rod rosenstein, what does that mean in terms of the investigation? can they see this as a way of trying to obstruct the russia investigation? >> a whole host of questions. and domino effect come from whatever the next move is we're looking at right now. shimon, thanks so much. >> let me get over right now to our cnn legal analyst and national security analyst and former fbi special agent. asha, what's your reaction to what we're looking at at the moment is some conflicting reports of an expectation that rod rosenstein expects to be
fired, that he's discussed resignation with chief of staff john kelly, and kind of where we are in this moment? >> yes, so we have been pretty much expecting something like this ever since that "new york times" story broke. i think the question was when whether the president would wait until after the midterms to avoid a backlash. so a couple of things, kate. first, whether rosenstein resigns or is fired could make a difference in terms of who could replace him as overseeing the russia probe. if he is fired, the next in line would come into place. that would be the current solicitor general noel francisco, although there are sugge suggestion he may have a conflict of interest, in which case, it would be the office of legal counsel. if rosenstein resigns, the president could fill his position with a senate confirmed
person from another cabinet. and that's a vacancies reform act that has all sorts of technicalities. it's unclear whether that would come into play. as shimon mentioned, this would effectively change the person who oversees the russia probe. while that person doesn't supervise robert mueller day-to-day, that person does approve major steps taken in the investigation as well as potential expansions in scope of the investigation. >> so that is where -- that is where that new person, their power would be felt almost immediately. let me ask you, if rod rosenstein would be out regardless, be it firing or resigning, he is a witness in a lot of what this investigation is about. i mean, that's some of the discussion we have been having all along, is overseeing the investigation while he was witness to some of what is being
investigated. so with him being -- if he would be out in whatever way that would be, what would that mean? do you think that would mean he would be, i don't know, a cooperating witness? >> in my opinion, i think that to the extent he is a witness in the obstruction of justice probe, that has been resolved or he's been interviewed or whatever mueller needs from him has been taken care of. i think this has the potential to backfire on the president in a few ways. so when i mentioned before that the person who oversees the mueller investigation can approve major steps or expansions in scope, it's important to note that the special counsel regulations state that if that person rejects any requests from the special counsel, they are then required to submit a report to congress, to the house and senate judiciary committees, including the ranking members, explaining why they rejected this. this is to bring sunlight, to
avoid having somebody behind the scenes quash an investigation. so if the house turns over after the midterms, that could lead to potential additional hearings or explanations from this new supervisor of mueller if they try to quash the investigation. as far as rod rosenstein, he could also come in and be asked to explain his view of the russia probe, you know, to give some public testimony on how important it is or why he was participating in that way, and he would be able to speak more fr freely. he could speak freely to a democratic committee that called him in than he can now. and that could not be what the trump administration really wants at this point. >> thanks so much. >> let me bring in for more on this cnn senior political reporter nia-malika henderson. as you're -- it seems there's a waiting moment. i feel like i'm watching the shot at the white house to see
rod rosenstein arrive. and then what comes from it is really unclear. but the ripple effects of rosenstein leaving, be it by resigning or by being fired, i mean, how it happens really matters, but the ripple effect regardless is going to be huge on capitol hill. >> that's right. and that's what a lot of the president's allies were so worried about, the kind of ripple effect. and that's why many of them, including people on fox news, people like sean hannity, they felt like this is something that he shouldn't do. certainly not in the middle of the kavanaugh confirmation hearing that's going to continue on thursday. so the idea was to wait until that is over, until ideally he's confirmed, according to republicans, and maybe do something after the midterms because this, again, draws a lot of scrutiny to russia. it draws a lot of scrutiny to the president's handling of the russia investigation, and so the
kind of mess that we're seeing now, even now with the sort of waiting game and lack of clarity in terms of did he resign, has it been accepted? has he been fired, will he be fired, this kind of drama at the last minute, even, i think, speaks to a lot of the mess that republicans really wanted to avoid in getting the president to wait. >> let me bring in cnn senior political analyst mark preston on this as well. to nia's point, mark, it is really strange where we are in this very moment. talk to me in 2 1/2 seconds and i'll say something different, but this moment, as nia lays out, is he offering his resignation, is he resigning, is he getting fired? i'm confused why there's so much confusion. >> and i wish i could help with your confusion, but i too am n confused with your confusion, as those watching are so confused. for the last two years we have all been confused by the trump
presidency. by his actions and how he's acted. to see where we are at this point right now, in and of itself is striking and historic. this is one of those moments where if you're in your office right now, you would be huddled around a television saying oh, my god, is the guy who is overseeing the investigation into the president, who may or may not have colluded with the russians to become president, is about to walk into the white house to be fired. i mean, this is one of those aha moments, except the problem is, the whole presidency has been one big aha moment. so it's hard to grasp and understand what's happening right now. but people should be fully aware of what's happening, is that if he's fired, if rosenstein is fired, then we're going to go down an entirely different path than if he walks in right now and resigns. >> you are absolutely right. mark, great to see you. we have much more on the breaking news. conflicting reports, but things we have been told is that rod rosenstein, according to sources
att the justice department, is expecting to be fired. things we have also been told is rod rosenstein is on his way to the white house, and white house officials told kaitlan collins rosenstein has talked with john kelly about resigning. where do things stand now? we'll find out right along with you. stick with us. we'll be back with this breaking news.
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times" that rosenstein is offering up his resignation or if he's expecting to be fired or some combination of both. we're waiting for more detail on this. let's go, as we do that, let's get over to cnn's senior congressional correspondent manu raju on capitol hill. manu, you can be sure a lot of folks are not reacting yet because they don't know what they're going to be reacting to. but this potential has been a topic of conversation for months on capitol hill. >> yeah, no question about it. republicans have actually been urging the president not to take this step of firing rod rosenstein even after that "new york times" report from friday, saying that doing so right now would cause a major distraction for the party heading into the midterms. something they actually cannot ford as they struggle to hold on to the house and potentially even the senate. a message that has been delivered by the president's close confidantes over the last several days and also quite publicly for several weeks and
months as the president unleashed his anger to rod rosenstein, saying doing that could suggest that perhaps the president, the white house, are trying to meddle in some way with the mueller investigation, which of course, rod rosenstein oversees. now, again, we don't know exactly whether rod rosenstein is going to be fired. we were reporting he's expected to be fired or he's actually given his resignation this morning. it's unclear exactly how this is going to play out, but how it will play out will be critical in determining how members respond, but undoubtedly, a lot of unease among republicans and democrats alike about the implications of this move, and of course, how the senate would have to respond to confirming another deputy attorney general, not an easy task, especially someone who would be in charge of this high-profile investigation. so a lot of questions that members are going to have to grapple with as they come back into town in the coming hours here. >> manu, not even potentially being faced with another
confirmation battle for another deputy attorney general. but the conversation about, and the legislation that has been proposed of protecting the mueller investigation. that has come in fits and starts with obviously republican leaders not wanting to put it on the floor. where does that stand now? what do you think this would mean for that? >> well, republicans do not want to go there. the republican leadership in particular, because they did not want to provoke a fight with the white house. they have been saying all along, well, we're confident the president will not fire bob mueller because they have given some private assurances that that would be the case. however, undoubtedly, with this move right now, there's going to be a renewed effort, renewed push for the leadership to give a second look on the legislation. now, i would not bank on the republican leadership taking that step of pushing for this bill. mitch mcconnell, the majority leader in the senate, has had zero appetite to move forward on
this. neither has the speaker, paul ryan. again, not wanting to provoke any sort of fight with the president at this critical time before the midterms. but what does this mean for the mueller investigation if rod rosenstein does in fact step aside or is fired? how does that impact things going forward? all unknowns, and it's all what's going to be prompting a lot of questions from the president's detractors and allies alike as we try to get a sense of exactly what's happened, kate. >> so quickly, the focus is going to move from that shot at the white house that we're looking at now to right where you are on capitol hill to find out what they're going to do about it, if anything, about it. let us know if you hear more reaction. let me bring back in nia-malika henderson. we have seen a lot of republicans since this fight has kind of gone on say that bob mueller needs to finish his investigation. and i do wonder how republicans are going to see the potential of, and maybe it's different
depending on what it is, if rod rosenstein resigns or if he's fired, if they're going to see that as an attack on the ability for mueller to finish his job. >> yeah, it's unclear. you know, i think we have seen from republicans, you're right, the sort of rhetoric that mueller should be able to finish his job. we obviously heard from different committees on the senate and house sides as well, and well rr see what they say depending on what the outcome of the meeting is at the white house between the deputy attorney general and the folks there. i guess the president isn't even -- is the president even at the white house? i don't think he's at the white house. i don't know what the meeting -- >> yeah, he's in new york right now. >> right, in new york right now, so you know, i guess maybe he's meeting with the chief of staff or other folks, whoever is at the white house and not with the president in new york, so this whole bizarre scene playing out, i think in some ways plays into democrats' hands. democrats aren't necessarily running on front and center chaos at the white house and chaos in this administration, but it's sort of permeating
everything in many ways, so this week, i think, is a textbook example of that, not only with kavanaugh, but with this very strange slow-motion resignation or firing on all the news that broke on friday, and the president responding, basically saying he wanted to clear the stench at some point and maybe that's what's going to happen. at some point, his base will certainly be happy. we heard from people like laura ingraham, other people, jeanine pirro, saying fire him immediately. and so it took him a couple days. maybe that's what's going to happen. we just don't know. and we'll see how republicans on capitol hill respond, but my goodness, what a pickle they're in as they're trying to on the one hand keep the focus on kavanaugh, protect the house, keep the senate as well going into these very tough midterms. >> yeah, absolutely. we keep our eye on this shot at the white house to see if we can catch a glimpse as attorney general rosenstein -- deputy attorney general rosenstein will be heading to the white house, summoned to the white house. we'll see what all this means.
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it is uncertain. it is unclear. he's being summoned to the white house. he's on his way there. we have new reporting coming out of the white house right now. let's go over to kaitlan collins with that. what are you picking up? >> kate, we know that rod rosenstein is on his way to the white house. it's unclear what exactly is going to transpire when he gets there, but we know he's going there to meet with the chief of staff, john kelly, to have further conversations about what exactly it is that's going on here and what his future here in washington is going to be. now, this is a little unusual because john kelly is one of the few senior staff who is not in new york right now with president trump. president trump hasn't been back to the white house in several days now. he was in las vegas last week, then he went to missouri, then he spent the weekend at his golf club in bedminster, new jersey, before going to new york for the first dpu days of this week with all the meetings with the world leaders. john kelly is one of the few people not up there in new york with president trump and instead is back at the white house. we know rod rosenstein and john kelly met on friday. that's when we reported the
white house wanted rosenstein to issue a firmer denial after "the new york times" reporting. he did put out a second statement despite saying oermy he wasn't going to comment further. we know they have been having conversations for several days now, since that bombshell story broke. but it's unclear where they stand right now. if they're on two pages or not, and that's what they're hoping to get together once they sit down at the white house, whatever is going to come out of that, they're trying to get on the same page. we're hearing two different things from the white house, from the justice department, but what we do know to be true is that john kelly and rod rosenstein are going to meet. we know that comes amid the questions in the west wing about his future there in the white house, in the administration. what was going to happen going forward, but kate, we also know that over the weekend, president trump was much more focused on the drama surrounding his supreme court nominee than he was this rosenstein story. that came to the surprise of a lot of people in the white house who thought the minute that
story dropped, it was going to be some kind of bombshell reporting that is going to infuriate the president, who has had a very tension-filled relationship with the deputy attorney general. so it's unclear exactly what's going to happen going forward, but we know they're going to meet. hopefully the white house will put out a statement after. if not, we'll figure out what was said between the two in that meeting at the white house happening shortly. >> we will, and it will come from you. thank you so much. we'll get back with you in a second. as she was talking about the timeline of how things transpired and how things have developed since the bombshell "new york times" report first came out on friday night, laura jarrett has more on what has played out since that report was released. laura, what has happened? how did we get from there to today? >> well, kate, the short story is this is not a done deal yet, i should say, and there is still a deputy attorney general over here at the justice department, and that person is rod rosenstein. there has not been a
resignation. there has not been a firing. we have not seen a statement officially out from the justice department or the white house. but we are getting a better picture of the timeline of what happened here. just to take us back to friday afternoon, "the new york times" issues that bombshell report on rosenstein musing about the 25th amendment and about wearing a wire. the justice department pushed back on that hard, but we do know that rod rosenstein met with john kelly over at the white house on friday evening and was forced to issue that firmer denial. there were also conversations over the weekend where the deputy attorney general rod rosenstein talked about resigning, talked about the conditions under which he would do that, but he did not actually resign. he just discussed it with john kelly, at least is our understanding right now. and the white house didn't agree on any of those conditions. our understanding is they said let's wait and see how all this plays out on monday. my colleague aeroeon de vogue said they were focused on kavanaugh. that leaves us where we are this
morning, a source told myself and others that he's expecting to get fired but he has not officially resigned yet kate. obviously, he's expecting to meet with john kelly shortly, if he isn't already. we'll see what the read out is after that meeting. things are moving very quickly. we'll have to wait and see how all of this gets resolved but i should mention in the event that he actually does quit or is out for whatever reason, there is a succession plan here at the justice department. it doesn't mean there is nobody here to run the mueller investigation. and based at least on how the justice department is thinking about this right now, things could still change, the solicitor general, noel francisco who currently argues before the supreme court, would be the one to take over as the acting attorney general for the purposes of overseeing the mueller investigation. we aren't there yet. we do still have a deputy attorney general, rod rosenstein, kate. >> at least for the moment. thank you, laura. really appreciate it. let me bring in right now cnn's chief political analyst gloria
borger. gloria, at this moment, it's important to remember the long road and evolution in the relationship, if you will, between president trump and deputy attorney general rod rosenstein. >> yeah, and you know, it hasn't been an easy relationship. first of all, he didn't think a special counsel ought to be appointed. of course, rod rosenstein, who was appointed by jeff sessions, another person he has no love for, appointed the special counsel. and then there's a sense inside the white house, particularly by the president, that rod rosenstein has let the special counsel run amuck. we know that house republicans want to call him on the hill and redact memos that he has fought about redacting. and one thing to keep in mind here, which i don't think we have mentioned this morning, kate, is that the president was insensed with rosenstein after the raid of his lawyer's office,
michael cohen, because he knows mueller couldn't do something like that without getting rosenstein's approval. so once he knew that rosenstein approved raiding the president's lawyer's office, he was furious about it. and then there was a whole bunch more stories about whether he was going to fire rod rosenstein. things have calmed down. and i think what we're seeing play out now is the kind of chaos inside the white house. the president himself, i'm told, and some of my colleagues are getting the same kind of reporting, the president himself doesn't want -- believes he could be being played. that if any of "the new york times" stories on friday came from any memos from andrew mccabe, whom he dislikes and doesn't trust and has tweeted about enough, and whom sessions fired, why would he believe that? i mean, there may be a sense that, you know, that he feels like he's being set up on all of
this. even though he would like to get rid of rosenstein, maybe he believes now, as we were also told friday, i was told by a source, that the president didn't want to do anything about this until after kavanaugh issue was resolved, that he didn't want two big messes on his hands at the same time. which is why we have seen his restraint on rosenstein on twitter. so it's an incredibly chaotic situation. kelly and rosenstein have been close. and i'm told by one source that, you know, kelly has protected rosenstein over the last months. so maybe this is just i quit/you're fired. maybe rosenstein has had enough of this and has decided to leave. as you have been talking about, there's a difference between being fired and resigning. if he resigns, the president has more leeway about what he can do and who he can appoint to
replace him. so it's just one of these convoluted situations that we're just going to wait and see how this final act plays out. but it's been an unhappy situation for a very long time. >> absolutely. one thing, and i can always be wrong, but one thing seems certain, something is going to happen. we're just not sure what road we're going to be walking down or reporting on. great to see you. joining me right now, very important voice in the next steps ahead. democratic congressman jerry nadler of new york. he's the top democrat on the house judiciary committee. thank you so much for being here. completely different topic than i thought we would be discussing. what's your reaction, just in what we're watching play out right now? >> well, it's very upsetting. this is the next step in a slowly evolving, slow motion saturday night massacre in which the president is getting rid of all the people who are involved in initiating or carrying out
the investigation of obstruction of justice by him. >> do you have any word yet if there's conversations about a resignation or firing? >> i have no information other than what i'm hearing from cnn and other news sources. >> we're happy to help. we would love to know from you. >> this started with the firing of comey, the firing of mccabe, the incessant attacks on the attorney general sessions, the incessant attacks on the fbi and people like bruce ohr, on others. incessant attacks on the institutions we depend on to do our police work and protect the integrity of our system. and this is, i think, just another step in the unfolding slow motion saturday night massacre. and it all started, remember, "the new york times" article from last week about whether he did or did not suggest -- >> suggest wiring. >> all that was in the context of rosenstein's initiating what
became an investigation of possible obstruction of justice by the president. and that initiation being in the immediate aftermath of the firing of comey, which was seen as -- which i think is a part of that obstruction. so all of this flows from that. and this looks like another step designed to frustrate or maybe even shut down an -- to obstruct the investigation. >> i have asked you many times when you have been on, you're asked at every turn, but it's now more a real possibility than it has ever been before. if rod rosenstein is fired, if he is gone, what -- do you think that is an impeachable move? >> the question isn't whether firing rosenstein is an impeachable move. the president has the right to fire rosenstein or anybody else, obviously. the question is, is the entire series of actions starting with comey and firing and other
things and asking for comey's loyalty, you can look at a whole list of actions. do these all amount to an attempt at obstruction of justice? that's the judgment that will have to be made. >> friday night, after this report, "the new york times" report came out, you had said that if rosenstein's gone, you said something to the effect of everything would be on the table. come january, if you were -- democrats were in the majority and you could be the chairman of the judiciary committee, is that what we're looking at right now? >> i'm not sure what you mean. >> what do you mean by everything could be on the table? >> literally, everything would be on the table. we would have to see -- >> because that's going further -- you're very careful on the issue of impeachment. >> we don't know at this point what evidence there will be, what evidence of what misdeeds there will be. but you cannot rule it out. you cannot rule anything out at this point. especially if the president
takes more actions that add up to evidence of obstruction of justice. >> if he's fired, do you think it adds up to obstruction of justice? >> i think that's another step that would be evidence toward that conclusion. >> noel francisco, what do you think of him? he's potentially the next in line. >> i don't know much. i'm not going to comment on him now. he's a very good lawyer, apparently. he's the solicitor general. he's very conservative, i'm told. having been active in various republican circles, but nothing wrong with that. beyond that, i don't know. >> do you believe rod rosenstein's denial coming from the reporting from friday night? >> yeah, i tend to believe his denial. he's always been a very onest man of great integrity, and there were people who said it was obvious his remark was obviously sarcastic. but the bottom line is, nothing was done. regardless of what he said, nothing was done.
nobody wore a wire, nobody did any of those things. and the real question therefore isn't that. the real question is to protect the integrity of the investigation, the integrity of the investigation of possible collusion with the russian attempt to interfere in our election and of the obstruction, the possible obstruction of justice in trying to impede that investigation. >> do you think if rod rosenstein is gone, the russia investigation is going to be shut down? >> i don't think they'll shut it down immediately, but the danger obviously is that whoever supervises mueller could act in such a way as to impede that investigation in different ways. i don't think they would have the nerve to just shut it down, but maybe they would. >> does it matter to you if he resigns or if he's fired? is that a distinction without a difference to you? >> i think it's largely a distinction without a difference because clearly the president has been doing everything he can
to force him out, and if he resigns rather than is fired, he's resigning under great pressure. it's equivalent to the same thing. >> sean hannity on friday night after the report said when there was talk of others saying rosenstein should be fired immediately, he said that the president needs to know that this is all a setup, that rosenstein should not -- that the president should not fire anyone right now. do you think that -- do you see that as a possibility? >> well, i hope that the president takes sean hannity's advice on this occasion. i don't think anything is a setup, but if he wants to believe that, that's fine. as long as he doesn't fire rosenstein. or so pressure him that he feels impelled to resign. >> as the committee with oversight over the justice department, how do you -- how are you made aware if whatever goes down at the white house today, how are you made aware of it? are you expecting -- are you going to be hearing from rod rosenstein yourself? do you bring him to the hill to
have a conversation about how this all went down? >> if i were chairman, i would do that. i'm not chairman. the republicans control the committee and the congress, as you know. i would think that rod rosenstein should certainly, if he's no longer in that position, should certainly come in and testify and be subpoenaed if necessary. we have to get to the bottom of what seems to be an ongoing obstruction of justice. >> what's the most important thing you can learn in the next -- it looks like right now, congressman, as we're looking at the shot, it looks like someone could be getting out of the suv that could be rosenstein, we could be looking at him walking into the white house or not. what's the most important thing? what are you listening for, what do you want to know in the coming hours? it seems like something is going to give. we don't know what it is. >> well, i don't know. the important thing is not -- is not what we learn today. the important thing is to insure that the integrity -- that the
investigation of the russian collusion and the investigation of the ongoing obstruction of justice in its many faceted forms not be impeded and go on. >> how do you insure that? republicans have shown no openness to passing any legislation to protect the investigation. >> that's right. we ought to pass that legislation. obviously, i'm a sponsor of it. one of the -- one of the points i would make campaigning for democrats congress is that the republican congress has been absolutely derelict in its duty under the constitution to provide a check and balance to the executive. in this case, to the trump administration. they're not investigating anything. they're not looking into anything. they're not holding the administration's feet to the fire, which is our constitutional obligation. therefore, the administration can do almost anything, and the news media seek to explain what's going on, and the news
media gets attacked. one of the big problems now is the attempt to attack the news media and the fbi and the justice department, all of this is -- are attacks on the democratic form of government. but hopefully, if hold the proper hearings and call in the proper witnesses and put some pressure on the administration. >> long before then and mid-terms are fast approaching. we need to figure out what's happening at the white house at this moment. thank you so much for coming in. appreciate your time. rod rosenstein, what is his future today? it's more uncertain than ever before. being summoned to meet with johnicjohn kelly at the white house. is he being fired or is he resigning? you wouldn't accept an incomplete job
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liberty mutual insurance. liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ bloating? pain? you may have ibs. ask your doctor about nonprescription ibgard for the daily dietary management of ibs. ibgard - daily gut-health gard >> we continue following breaking news. deputy attorney generrosenstein the way to the white house to meet with john kelly about his future. there are reports he is expecting to be fired. where do things stand right now? literally at 11:55 and some seconds. let's go to kaitlyn collins for the latest. where are things right now? >> reporter: that's a great question, kate. that's what everyone is trying to get to the bottom of it.
there is mass confusion right now. he is going to the white house. he is going to meet with the chief of staff, john kelly. one of the few senior staffers left in the west wing while others are traveling with the president in new york for the united nations meeting happening this week. we also know that rod rosen stein offered to resign to john kelly when they met the same friday that rod rosenstein published the second statement at the white house's request offering a firmer denial of the "new york times" story that he had floated conversations of imwearing wires and he floated conversations about invoking the 25th amendment. he denied that across the board and two statements doing so. that has been a big conversation in the white house this weekend. since that story published on friday about what his future is going to be. that is what we are expecting him and johnic kelly to hash ou.
what it is that is happening right now during this west wing meeting. john kelly and rod rosen steste. we can expect the white house to publish a statement saying what it is their position on this is. so far, kate, they haven't said a word on this. they have not put out any statements that he offered to resign to john kelly. that's what we are waiting to hear. this wasn't the biggest thing on the president's mind over the weekend. he was much more focused with the kavanaugh drama surrounding the supreme court pick. which we heard him talk about at the united nations this morning. rod rosen stein was not at the top of the agenda. what they were going to do and what his position was going to be and whether or not he was going to stay on in this administration. right now this concern and confusion over whether or not he resigned, been fired, what is happening in the meeting with john kelly is what we are trying
to find out. he offered to resign to john kelly last week. >> offered to resign so the status of his employment, we could have having an update very soon. seeing if the deputy attorney general is arriving. i keep watching people any in and i have not seen him yet. let's go over to evan perez with more. evan, i think a lot of people have been wondering and there is so much conversation within the white house and beyond after the reporting came out on friday night. and rod rosenstein's two denials that came out on friday night. are you hearing anything of his state of mind and what he has been thinking and talking about since this came out and where things are today? >> i think the confusion comes from the fact that there was author conversation and he did issue a second denial on friday
night about the invoking of the 25th amendment and offered to record the president. i'm told from people close to the deputy attorney general as of saturday. he did not think that he needed to go immediately. as you mentioned, he just offered the denials on friday. he thought that those denials were sufficient at least to keep him in the job for now. the reason why i say for now is that rod rosenstein like his boss, jeff sessions, was fully expecting this day was going to come. it was going to come soon after the mid-terms. the expectation was that the president was going to clean house at the justice department after the mid-terms and the expectation was rod rosenstein would be one to leave after the mid-terms. the question of when this resignation offer and whether or not he offered to resign and when that would be effective.
that's the big question that a lot of us are trying to work out. as kaitlyn said, people inside the white house thought that rod rosenstein had offered his resignation during the conversations. kate? >> what will be happening with rod rosenstein. how much longer will he be in the job? is he offering his resignation today. will it be accepted? will he be fired? all questions on the table right now. john king and inside politics right now. thank you, kate and welcome to inside politics. i'm john king and thank you for sharing this busy day with us. the special counsel investigation. the deputy attorney general is summoned to the white house. is he being fired or resigning? we are trying to clear it up, but a big day at the white house. pres