Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently told the White House he might have to leave his job if President Trump fired his deputy, Rod J. Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, according to people familiar with the exchange.
Sessions made his position known in a phone call to White House counsel Donald McGahn last weekend, as Trump’s fury at Rosenstein peaked after the deputy attorney general approved the FBI’s raid April 9 on the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen.
Sessions’s message to the White House, which has not previously been reported, underscores the political firestorm that Trump would invite should he attempt to remove the deputy attorney general. While Trump also has railed against Sessions at times, the protest resignation of an attorney general — which would be likely to incite other departures within the administration — would create a moment of profound crisis for the White House.
In the phone call with McGahn, Sessions wanted details of a meeting Trump and Rosenstein held at the White House on April 12, according to a person with knowledge of the call. Sessions expressed relief to learn that their meeting was largely cordial. Sessions said he would have had to consider leaving as the attorney general had Trump ousted Rosenstein, this person said.
Another person familiar with the exchange said Sessions did not intend to threaten the White House but rather wanted to convey the untenable position that Rosenstein’s firing would put him in.
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Rosenstein’s status remains uncertain, but the pressure he is facing seemed to subside after last week.
Last summer, when it appeared Trump was going to fire Sessions or pressure him to resign, Republican lawmakers and conservative advocacy groups rallied to Sessions’s side and warned the president not to move against him.
Trump had told senior officials last week that he was considering firing Rosenstein, who was confirmed by the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support last year. Since then, alumni of the Justice Department have rallied to Rosenstein’s defense.
The fact that there are Dems and liberal on his sideshow how through the looking glass we are.