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

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe McCabe's counsel presses US attorney on whether grand jury decided not to indict US attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal MORE went to the White House on Wednesday for a previously planned meeting shortly after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe McCabe's counsel presses US attorney on whether grand jury decided not to indict US attorney recommends moving forward with charges against McCabe after DOJ rejects his appeal MORE resigned at President TrumpDonald John TrumpSupreme Court comes to Trump's aid on immigration Trump is failing on trade policy Trump holds call with Netanyahu to discuss possible US-Israel defense treaty 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 (Bob) Swan MuellerFox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal 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 ComeyHouse Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe Justice OIG completes probe on FBI surveillance of ex-Trump campaign aide Aggrieved Trump rips Dems for 'sad' impeachment effort 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.