Deputy Attorney General-designate, federal prosecutor Rod Rosenstein, listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The hot story right now is that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein fully expects to be told, in the very near future, to pack his sh** and get off the battlefield.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has struck a stoic and righteous tone in private conversations he has had this week about the fate of his job as President Donald Trump has launched public criticism against him and considered firing him, according to three sources who have spoken to Rosenstein.

In those conversations, he has repeated the phrase, “Here I stand,” a reference to Martin Luther’s famous quote, “Here I stand, I can do no other.” Coincidentally, former FBI Director James Comey, whom Rosenstein fired, repeated the same phrase to President George W. Bush in a conversation that has been widely reported and that Comey describes in his forthcoming book.

One source who spoke to Rosenstein said he seemed fully aware he may soon lose his job and was at peace with the possibility, confident he had done his job with integrity.

And the Wall Street Journal says he’s probably right:

The result: Two people who spoke to Mr. Trump during the week said they came away thinking both Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general who appointed Mr. Mueller, and Attorney General Jeff Sessions would soon be gone, potentially sparking a political and constitutional crisis.

“It’s a matter of when, not if,” said one person who has discussed the matter with Mr. Trump.

“Eventually, it will happen,” a second person said, adding that the Cohen raid was “not good for the long-term relationship between the president and Sessions and Rosenstein.”

The problem is finding a way to fire one or both of them without having it directly tied to the Russia probe (nice try):

To avoid the impression that Mr. Trump is looking to interfere in the Russia investigation, the White House has called supporters outside the administration and urged them to attack the probe—and Mr. Rosenstein in particular—on TV, according to people familiar with the matter. The White House also has promoted the notion that the two top Justice Department officials have run afoul of Congress for not swiftly turning over documents related to a subpoena from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.).

Some congressional Republicans this week called for Mr. Rosenstein to be dismissed over the documents delay. “Let’s do it this week, and if this attorney general and deputy attorney general can’t do it—let’s find two who will,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R., N.C.) said on Fox & Friends on Tuesday.

Of all the top Justice Department officials, Mr. Rosenstein faces the greatest risk of being forced out, according to people close to the administration. Senior advisers, including press secretary Sarah Sanders, have urged Mr. Trump not to take that step, warning of the political and legal fallout.

Firing Rosenstein will definitely be interesting. Rosenstein supervises…to the extent that he is…the Mueller investigation. If Trump follows the line of succession, the Solicitor General becomes the next in line until a new deputy is confirmed. But anyone who has been confirmed by the Senate can fill the position for, IIRC, 240 days. All they need is to be told to do so by Trump.

In fact, there was a lot of speculation that Trump was going to fire Rosenstein yesterday when he met with him. (Don’t know why anyone thought Rosenstein would be fired in person rather than by Twitter, but people need clicks to put food on the table.)

I don’t think Rosenstein is psychologically able to supervise Mueller. Mueller was FBI director when Rosenstein was a fairly junior official in Justice. Mueller and Rosenstein have a personal history in the Uranium One case that has never been made completely transparent. And one can’t help but sense that Mueller does whatever the hell he wants to and Rosenstein plays the role of bobblehead. The decision to raid Michael Cohen’s office and residence, I believe, had much more to do with the wants and desires of Mueller to get Cohen’s records than any conceivable campaign finance violation or financing of taxicab medallions. If this so-called investigation is to ever be wrapped up, there needs to be someone as deputy AG who can tell Mueller, as they say, how the cow’s going to eat the cabbage.

Having said that, the outcome will be ugly in the short run, and possibly, given Trump’s talent for making small messes into big ones, in the long run.

If this happens, it is a feature not a bug. Someone is going to be hired to fill those vacancies and you know who won’t be hiring them? Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. Congress has regular uproars and Trump could rightfully anticipate, depending upon his selection to replace Rosenstein, that the uproar will subside.

Someone needs to tell this assclown he needs to get in line. Or, in the words of Tucker Max, he can be next but he can’t ever be first.

But #TheResistance will be there:

There is another possibility that may have been previewed today with another victim of an out of control special prosecutor. And it is the course I think he should have taken months ago. He needs to start handing out pardons to anyone who has been contacted by the special counsel’s office for an interview. Let Mueller investigate until his heart’s content but just keep him from prosecuting anyone. When it becomes impossible to collect scalps, maybe Mueller will actually give us an answer of the Russian collusion nonsense and go away.