WASHINGTON— Steve Cortes, the head of the Trump 2016 campaign’s Hispanic advisory council, said Tuesday that President Donald Trump is less likely to fire Rod Rosenstein after the Deputy Attorney General’s performance in recent weeks, but is till facing pressure to do so.
“My honest guess is he’s less likely to fire Rosenstein right now, but having said that, I do think Rod Rosenstein is on the hot seat,” Cortes told TMN.
“I’m not going to talk about my private conversations with the president, but he certainly has heard my advice,” Cortes, who is also a CNN political commentator, added. “He knows what I think. There are a lot of influential people both inside the White House and outside the White House who think the same thing and are counseling him similarly.”
LISTEN: TMN discusses Rod Rosenstein’s potential ouster with Steve Cortes.
Rosenstein has been rumored to be in the crosshairs since appointing Robert Mueller to serve as Special Counsel last year.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
Placing him in deeper jeopardy, Rosenstein is the only person in the administration who can dismiss Mueller, something he has said he would refuse to do without appropriate cause.
In recent months, the Deputy Attorney General has also caught the ire from the president and conservative members of Congress for declining to provide Justice Department documents on the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
However, the anger against Rosenstein appears to have eased this month after he agreed to broaden an Inspector General’s investigation to cover allegations that an FBI informant was placed in the Trump campaign and disclosed classified information on the claim to a select group of lawmakers.
Cortes had previously argued that Rosenstein should be immediately dismissed and stood by his assertion Tuesday.
“He’s starting to act a bit more appropriately,” Cortes said. “To me, it’s not enough to make up for the many, many missteps ever since Trump took office.”
Cortes noted that there would likely be an unacceptable level of political fallout if Trump fired Mueller, but said that he did not believe Rosenstein’s ouster would be met with similar backlash.
“Most Americans, quite frankly, don’t know who Rosenstein is,” Cortes explained. “The more important reason, I think this is a key distinction, is that Mueller was hired by the Department of Justice, not by Trump directly, whereas Rosenstein was appointed by Trump. And Trump has the right … to fire executive branch employees at will.”