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Rosenstein goes to White House for preplanned meeting after Sessions departure

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinElection fallout: What to watch for now The Hill’s Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Trump, Obama battle for the Senate The Hill’s Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Final stretch to the midterms amid backdrop of violence MORE went to the White House on Wednesday for a previously planned meeting shortly after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsElection fallout: What to watch for now The Hill’s Morning Report — Judgment Day: New data suggest big Dem gains in House, governors’ races Election Countdown: Trump frames midterm as referendum on presidency | Senate seats most likely to flip | Huge turnout raises Dem hopes | Controversy over Trump ad | Weather forecast has storm headed to key states | DOJ to monitor voting in 19 states MORE resigned at President TrumpDonald John TrumpMidterms: The winners and losers GOP Rep. Mike Bost wins reelection in Illinois Sisolak becomes first Dem to win Nevada governor race since 1994 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.

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 ComeyComey cheers midterm results: ‘The giant is stirring’ Election Countdown: Election Day edition | Hour-by-hour viewer’s guide | What to watch as results come in | Pundits’ predictions | Election to deliver verdict on Trump | GOP braces for possibility of losing House | Dems see slim hopes for taking Senate James Comey knocks on doors for Virginia Democrat Jennifer Wexton 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.

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