- REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
- When asked if he is more likely to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after reading the controversial Nunes memo, President Donald Trump only said, “You figure that one out.”
- The memo alleges that Rosenstein used improper procedure to extend the surveillance of Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide, as part of the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
- There have been reports that Trump is considering firing Rosenstein, which in turn could open the door for the removal of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is heading the Russia investigation.
President Donald Trump offered a cryptic answer when asked if he planned to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after reading a highly-controversial memo compiled by Republican House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes.
“You figure that one out,” Trump replied during a press availability at the White House. A White House spokesperson cited by CNN Friday night said there will be no “no changes” at the Justice Department.
The Nunes memo, which has been the subject of intense debate for weeks, alleges that the Department of Justice abused its surveillance authority to monitor Carter Page, a former Trump campaign aide.
In particular, the memo claims that Rosenstein used improper procedure to extend the surveillance of Page shortly after Trump assumed office last spring.
Rosenstein’s involvement has led to questions about whether Trump could fire Rosenstein, especially after a report in The New York Times saying the president had considered the move.
A CNN report on Friday cited a source as describing Trump saying things like “let’s fire him, let’s get rid of him,” before being talked out of it.
Rosenstein hired Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation as the special counsel in May, after Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. And since Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from any investigations related to the 2016 presidential campaign last March, Rosenstein oversees Mueller and his investigation – and has the power to fire him as well.
Allan Smith contributed to this report.