Trump, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to meet Thursday - White House

President Donald Trump and U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election, will meet on Thursday to discuss Rosenstein's future.

A source told Reuters that Rosenstein had spent the weekend contemplating whether he should resign after a New York Times report last week said he had suggested secretly recording Trump in 2017.

The White House announced the meeting on Monday after a flurry of conflicting reports about whether Rosenstein, a frequent target of Trump's anger, would be leaving the post.

"At the request of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, he and President Trump had an extended conversation to discuss the recent news stories," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Twitter.

She said the meeting will be on Thursday because Trump was at the U.N. General Assembly on Monday and has meetings with world leaders later in the week.

See more on Rod Rosenstein:

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Rod Rosenstein through the years
Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, October 10, 2006. Rosenstein and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force, an effort aimed at the detection, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with increased contracting activity for national security programs. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty, center, speaks during a news conference with Alice Fisher, head of the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice, left, and U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, during a news conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, October 10, 2006. McNulty announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force, an effort aimed at the detection, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with increased contracting activity for national security programs. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
SLUG: me/hornsby DATE: August 22, 2006 CREDIT: Ricky Carioti / TWP. United States Federal Courthouse in Greenbelt, Md. Federal prosecutors announce the indictment of former Prince George's County school superintendent Andre Hornsby. United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, center, flanked by Francis Turner, left, of the United States Department of the Treasury and Assistant United States Attorney Michael Pauze announce the 16-count indictment of former Prince George's County Schools Superintendent Andre Hornsby during a press conference at federal court in Greenbelt on Tuesday. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein talks about the sentencing of Thomas Bromwell Sr. and Mary Patricia Bromwell following their appearance in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, Friday, November 16, 2007. (Photo by Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
GREENBELT, MD JUNE 30:United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein talked with reporters after the Guilty plea of Prince Georges County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson the U.S. District Court on June 30, 2011 in Greenbelt, MD. To Rosenstein's left is Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service and to his right is Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24: Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, on Friday, October 24, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rosenstein said Carl Lackl was scheduled to be a witness to the Larry Haynes murder but was killed when Patrick Byers plotted his murder from his jail cell. (Photo by Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, swears in to a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, sits during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 07: Deputy U.S. Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein arrives before the Senate Judiciary Committee for testimony March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. During the hearing, Democratic senators pressed Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor in an ongoing federal inquiry into Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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The Rosenstein furor, kicked off by unconfirmed reports that he had verbally resigned, underscored the mounting tension in the White House over the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.

There had been widespread speculation that Trump would fire Rosenstein since Friday when a New York Times report said that in 2017 Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording the president and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from office.

The Times said none of those proposals came to fruition. Rosenstein denied the report as "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT RELATIONSHIP

Shortly after the Times story, Trump told supporters at a rally in Missouri that there is "a lingering stench" at the Justice Department and that "we’re going to get rid of that, too."

Rosenstein's departure would prompt questions about the future of Mueller's investigation and whether Trump, who has called the probe a "witch hunt," would seek to remove Mueller.

The furor comes just six weeks ahead of the Nov. 6 congressional elections, and Rosenstein's removal could become an explosive political issue as Trump's fellow Republicans try to keep control of Congress.

If Rosenstein resigns, Trump has more leeway on replacing him while firing him would make it harder for Trump to designate a successor.

Rosenstein's future ignited a series of conflicting reports on Monday, with the Axios news website cited an unidentified source with knowledge of the matter as saying he had verbally resigned to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Other reports said Rosenstein expected to be fired while NBC News reported Rosenstein said he would not resign and the White House would have to fire him.

U.S. Treasury yields fell as much as 2 basis points after the Axios report, signaling investor concern but later pared losses. The S&P 500 also ticked down briefly but recovered most of its losses.

Rosenstein has defended Mueller and been a target of Trump since he assumed supervision of the Russia investigation after his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself because of his own contacts with Russia's ambassador to Washington while serving as a Trump campaign adviser became public.

Trump also has blasted Sessions frequently and said last week "I don't have an attorney general."

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said he was "deeply concerned" about the reports of Rosenstein stepping down, saying his departure would put the federal probe into Russian election activities at risk.

"There is nothing more important to the integrity of law enforcement and the rule of law than protecting the investigation of Special Counsel (Robert) Mueller," McCabe said in a statement.

McCabe was fired by Sessions in March after the Justice Department's internal watchdog accused him of misconduct. McCabe charged that he was targeted for being a witness into whetherTrump tried to obstruct the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

(Reporting by Sarah Lynch, Doina Chiacu, Susan Heavey and Karen Freifeld; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Rigby and Bill Trott)

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