Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein to fly with Trump to Florida on Monday, official says

WASHINGTON - Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, whose future at the Justice Department has been steeped in drama, is planning to fly with President Donald Trump on Air Force One to an event in Florida on Monday, according to an official familiar with his plans.

Trump and Rosenstein were scheduled to meet late last month following reports that Rosenstein wanted to wiretap the president early in his tenure. But Trump postponed the meeting amid an all-consuming confirmation process for Supreme Court Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

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It was not immediately clear whether Trump and Rosenstein would hold that meeting on the trip to Florida on Monday. The official who described Rosenstein's plans was not authorized to speak publicly about the trip and requested anonymity.

Trump is flying to Orlando for an afternoon address to the International Association of Chiefs of Police Annual convention. It is not unusual for senior Justice Department officials to join Trump at such events.

Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation of Russian election interference led by special counsel Robert Mueller, offered to resign last month after the reports that he contemplated secretly recording conversations with the president.

The Justice Department began preparing for a future without him: Matt Whitaker, Attorney General Jeff Sessions's chief of staff, would take over as deputy attorney general, and Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, would take over supervision of the Russia probe.

As the plan was taking shape, Rosenstein went to the White House expecting he would be fired but wound up staying in his job.

At a news conference two days later, Trump declared: "My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up."

White House officials have told The Post that Trump is unlikely to fire Rosenstein before the midterm elections in November.

Trump's speech to the gathering of police chiefs comes on the heels of a new FBI report that the number of homicides and other violent crimes dipped slightly in the United States last year, suggesting the rise of violent crimes in recent years may be ending.

The increase in violence in 2015 and 2016 prompted alarm nationwide, including from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who warned of "the rising tide of violent crime" across the country. Experts have cautioned against reading too much into annual data, while others have pointed to the dramatic decline in crime over the past quarter-century to support the argument for criminal justice restructuring.



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