President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would "prefer" to keep his embattled deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the Russia collusion probe, but might delay a decision.
"I'd much prefer keeping Rod Rosenstein," Trump told journalists in New York.
However, Trump said that a meeting scheduled for Thursday at the White House between him and Rosenstein might be put off, because of the focus on a separate political drama over his Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh.
"I may call Rod tonight or tomorrow and ask for a little bit of a delay to the meeting," Trump said.
Christine Blasey Ford, who says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in the 1980s, is to testify before a US Senate committee on Thursday.
Trump has sought to cast doubt over Blasey Ford's allegation, but said Wednesday that he wanted to hear what she had to say and did not want to distract from the proceedings.
Rosenstein's job has looked untenable since The New York Times and The Washington Post reported that Rosenstein in May 2017 had suggested secretly recording Trump for evidence of White House dysfunction -- and using that to formally remove him from power.
As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein plays a key role in overseeing the high-powered investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which Trump calls a politically motivated "witch hunt."
His departure -- which would give the president an opportunity to replace him with a loyalist -- would dramatically rock the probe into whether Russia conspired with Trump's campaign to aid his 2016 shock presidential election victory.