News Analysis: U.S. deputy attorney general's job hanging in balance, partisan animosity sensed in Washington

Source: Xinhua| 2018-09-25 15:30:43|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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File photo taken on Sept. 4, 2018 shows U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attending a Senate confirmation hearing in Washington D.C., the United States. After Monday's flurry of conflicting U.S. media reports, it remains unknown whether U.S. President Donald Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. (Xinhua/Ting Shen)

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- After Monday's flurry of conflicting U.S. media reports, it remains unknown whether U.S. President Donald Trump will fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

But if that happens, Democrats will be up in arms, as Rosenstein is supervising the investigation into whether Trump's campaign colluded with Russia to clinch the 2016 presidential elections.

The two are slated to meet at the White House on Thursday, but it remains unknown what will happen. Some experts believe firing Rosenstein would be too risky a move for Trump.

The issue highlights the ongoing probe over whether Trump's campaign team colluded with Moscow in a bid to clinch the 2016 presidential elections, as Rosenstein is supervising the investigation into the controversial matter, which is headed by Special Council Robert Mueller. Trump has called the investigation a "witch hunt," while Democrats continue to support the investigation.

Should Rosenstein get the ax, there will likely be an outcry among Democrats.

"The reaction would be very loud," Christopher Galdieri, assistant professor at Saint Anselm College, told Xinhua, speaking of how Democrats would take the news of a firing. "(It) would add to the Democrats' argument that the country needs a Democratic Congress to check the Trump administration."

GOP Strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua it is unclear how the Russia probe would be impacted if Rosenstein were fired.

"But politically, the Democrats would be screaming to high heavens and that's what you have to think about," he said.

Indeed, in the lead up to November's mid-term elections, a Rosenstein firing could galvanize Democratic voters to head out to the ballot box, and that would be bad for Trump, some experts opined.

If Rosenstein is fired, it could put the Russia probe very much in doubt, writes Anthony Zurcher of the BBC.

"If Rod Rosenstein is out, by resignation or firing, the future of Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation is very much in doubt," he wrote this week.

"Mr. Rosenstein is the reason there is a special counsel investigation, and he has given Mr. Mueller a wide mandate to pursue that inquiry wherever it may lead," he contended.

"It has resulted, for instance, in the successful prosecution of former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort and a plea deal from Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen -- both for activities tangential to the Russia probe," he said.

Speaking from New York on Monday, while meeting with global leaders at the United Nations, Trump said he will have to see what's happening on Thursday. "We're going to have a meeting on Thursday when I get back," he said, speaking of Rosenstein.

The controversy began Friday when a U.S. media report claimed that Rosenstein had considered recording the president secretly, and had considered using the 25th Amendment to boot Trump from the White House.

Rosenstein has said the report was not accurate, but it underscores the bitter partisan animosity in Washington, and the bad blood between Rosenstein and Trump, who have been at odds over the Russia investigation.


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