It’s been a wild ride on the Rod Rosenstein rollercoaster.
On Monday morning, the internet turned into a five-alarm dumpster fire when it was reported Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had resigned from his position. But then, as minutes and hours ticked by, it turned out he was still in his position after all.
Axios kicked things off by reporting that Rosenstein offered his resignation to Trump chief-of-staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired anyway. Then came contradictory reports that Rosenstein was heading to the White House and expected to be fired and would fight any attempt to resign. And then there was … just utter confusion as the minutes gave way to hours and there was no sign of a resolution.
Finally, after two hours of chaos, during which reports surfaced that Rosenstein had met with Kelly and then gone right to another meeting, the White House put out a statement that Rosenstein would meet with Trump on Thursday. (Buckle up, because that’s the same day the woman who accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of an attempted sexual assault in high school will testify before the Senate.)
This all follows the New York Times‘ bombshell report last week that Rosenstein had discussed secretly taping Trump and even advocated invoking the 25th Amendment. The biggest impact of Rosenstein’s would-be resignation or firing is that it would clear a path for President Trump to appoint a new deputy AG who could follow Trump’s directive to shut down Robert Mueller’s far-reaching investigation into possible collusion between the Trump team and Russia during the 2016 presidential election.
Except it hasn’t happened… yet.
Needless to say, this extreme case of newsbomb-induced whiplash caused Twitter to experience a meltdown the likes of which we don’t often see — even in a news cycle as wild as this one. And it did serve as a sizable distraction to the ongoing Kavanaugh accusations, which may have been the intended effect.
People were utterly confused by the competing, conflicting reports and a simple desire to just know what the hell was happening. But after the smoke cleared, we processed our brush with a constitutional crisis in the only way we know how:
Apparently Rosenstein told White House, “I will resign,” but he meant it only sarcastically…..
— Greg Mitchell (@GregMitch) September 24, 2018
This has been a test of the constitutional crisis broadcast system.
— Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) September 24, 2018
Season finale is Thursday.
— Philip Bump (@pbump) September 24, 2018
And now, after the chaos of Monday, we get to do it all over again on Thursday with a bonus dose of Kavanaugh’s hearing to really take things to 11.
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