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

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE went to the White House on Wednesday for a previously planned meeting shortly after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE resigned at President TrumpDonald TrumpJan. 6 panel plans to subpoena Trump lawyer who advised on how to overturn election Texans chairman apologizes for 'China virus' remark Biden invokes Trump in bid to boost McAuliffe ahead of Election Day 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 ComeyTrump defends indicted GOP congressman Andrew McCabe's settlement with the Department of Justice is a signal to John Durham Giuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign 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.