Rosenstein goes to White House for 'preplanned' meeting after Sessions departure

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinShowdown looms over Mueller report If Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report MORE went to the White House on Wednesday for a previously planned meeting shortly after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE resigned at President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller report MORE’s request, a Justice Department (DOJ) spokeswoman confirmed to The Hill.

Rosenstein is attending a “preplanned” meeting on a “substantive matter” at the White House, DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Flores said.

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Session’s departure from DOJ had been hinted at for months, with Trump telling Hill.TV in September, “I don’t have an attorney general.” However, the president held off on removing the top law enforcement official from his administration until after Tuesday's midterm elections.

There has also been speculation over whether the president would fire Rosenstein, after The New York Times reported earlier this year that the official had suggested wearing a wire during conversations with Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president.

Trump and Rosenstein met after the report, and the high-ranking Justice Department official remained in the position.

Rosenstein was appointed to oversee special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s probe into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign following Sessions's recusal from the investigation — a move which drew the president's ire. However, Flores told The Hill that the new acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, is “in charge of all matters under the purview of the Department of Justice."

Democrats have met Whitaker's appointment with calls for him to recuse himself from the Mueller probe.

Whitaker, who has written opinion pieces for The Hill, wrote in an op-ed for CNN last year before he was hired at DOJ that Mueller's probe has "gone too far."

"It is time for Rosenstein, who is the acting attorney general for the purposes of this investigation, to order Mueller to limit the scope of his investigation to the four corners of the order appointing him special counsel," he wrote at the time.

Whitaker also pushed back on the idea of a special counsel in an opinion piece for The Hill in May 2017, after Trump fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report Hillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records MORE.

"Calls for an independent counsel or commission to investigate allegations that Russia tried to interfere with our elections ring hollow when similar calls for special counsels during the scandals of the Obama administration were dismissed out of hand by the same people making these demands now," Whitaker wrote.