Rosenstein also signed off on Mueller sending a tax and fraud case against Michael Cohen to the US Attorney's office for the Southern District of NY, a move that ultimately led to an Federal Bureau of Investigation raid on the offices and homes of the President's former lawyer, who is now speaking with prosecutors.
TV news outlets waited breathlessly this morning for news about the fate of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with word he was on his way to the White House, after discussing his resignation with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Saturday. Rosenstein denied the Times report as "inaccurate and factually incorrect".
The reports about Rosenstein add to the turmoil roiling the administration, just six weeks before midterm elections with control of Congress at stake.
While the original report from Axios claimed that Rosenstein planned to resign in anticipation of being fired by President Donald Trump, a source tells NBC News' Pete Williams that Rosenstein instead intends to force the White House to fire him, while vowing to not go quietly as he leaves.
Either way, Rosenstein is out of a job, which could jeopardise the Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.
Noel Francisco, the solicitor general, would take on oversight of Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Republican politicos have been urging Trump not to fire Rosenstein until after the midterm elections, arguing that doing so would cause even more headache for the party struggling to hang on to the House and possibly the Senate.
"I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false", Rosenstein said in a later denial.
Mr Trump has regularly dismissed the investigation as a "witch hunt". "I sacrificed personally and professionally to help put the investigation on a proper course and subsequently made every effort to protect it".