Last week, Rod Rosenstein was the toast of the White House. Tonight, he went against President Trump's wishes and took the Russia probe to a new level.
- The initial party line on James Comey's firing: Trump had accepted the recommendation of his deputy attorney general, a "universally respected" and apolitical figure. Rosenstein, a longtime Department of Justice official, was reportedly infuriated that Trump's decision had been pinned on him.
- Eight days after Comey's ouster: Rosenstein took the dramatic step of naming former FBI director Robert Mueller special counsel in the Russia probe, tasked with investigating ties between Trump campaign associates and the Kremlin.
- Trump was reportedly not informed until after Rosenstein signed the order, less than an hour before the public announcement. Some media organizations received the news around the same time.