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"My preference would be to keep him and to let him finish up", Trump said, without explaining what he would like Rosenstein to finish working on.

The future of the No. 2 official at the Justice Department was thrown into doubt on Friday with a report in the New York Times that Rosenstein had suggested to colleagues previous year that he could secretly record conversations with the president and also discussed invoking the 25th Amendment that allows for removing a president who's unfit.

In suggesting that he might postpone Thursday's meeting, Trump said he was focused on the extraordinary Senate Judiciary Committee hearing set for the same day with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when they were teenagers.

When a foreign reporter told the president he was Kurdish, Trump said, "Good".

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"I'm going to meet with [Rosenstein] tomorrow", said Trump. Two White House officials said Wednesday that Trump is unlikely to fire Rosenstein until after the election. But after meeting with chief of staff John Kelly and speaking by phone with Trump, he got a reprieve with the Trump meeting scheduled for Thursday. "I think he may have some confidence that history will be kinder to him than politicians are". And while many of Trump's allies have urged caution, fearing a trap, moments ago Axios reported that Rosenstein has chose to preempt that step by verbally resigning to Chief of Staff John Kelly in anticipation of being fired by President Trump, according to a source with direct knowledge.

The president has frequently criticized Rosenstein, who has been steadfast in trying to protect Mueller as the probe digs ever deeper into Trump's inner circle. A person present at that meeting said he was joking, but the New York Times, which first reported the incident on Friday, cited secondhand accounts indicating Rosenstein was serious.

But it's unclear how safe his job will be after the November midterm elections.

Some speculate the Rosenstein story was planted to undermine both the deputy attorney general and Mueller, giving Trump a legitimate excuse to do what he'd wanted to do all along.