Donald Trump said he would "prefer" to keep his embattled deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein – who oversees the Russia collusion probe – but that he might delay a politically risky decision on the official’s fate originally expected for Thursday.
"I’d much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein," Trump told journalists in New York on Wednesday.
However, Trump said that a meeting scheduled for Thursday at the White House between him and Rosenstein might be put off, because of the focus on a separate political drama over his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.
"I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little bit of a delay to the meeting," Trump said.
No meeting with Rosenstein appeared on the president’s schedule for Thursday, which was released by the White House.
Doubts over how long Rosenstein can keep the job have been swirling since shock US media reports that he once suggested secretly recording Trump to collect evidence for ousting him under a constitutional amendment for presidents unfit to remain in office.
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This Monday, Rosenstein was widely rumored to be on the point of being fired or handing in his resignation when he arrived for a meeting with the White House chief of staff.
But in an unpredictable series of events, he emerged from the meeting with his job intact and the White House announcing that Trump would see Rosenstein in person Thursday after returning from the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.
Trump indicated Wednesday that Rosenstein – who has dismissed the media reports as inaccurate – had gone a long way in persuading him.
"I’m talking to him. We’ve had a good talk. He said he never said it," Trump said. "He said he has a lot of respect for me."
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