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Here’s why it matters if Rod Rosenstein gets fired — or if he resigns

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There are now conflicting reports about whether deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein plans to resign from his position or whether the Trump White House plans to fire him.

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.

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While the end result would be the same — that is, Rosenstein would no longer be deputy Attorney General and would no longer oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election — the way in which he leaves is crucially important to the future of the investigation.

As the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake explains on Twitter, Rosenstein could potentially limit the president’s ability to appoint a successor if he forces him to fire him, whereas the president could pick whomever he chooses should Rosenstein tender his resignation.

“Federal Vacancies Reform Act gives Trump power to appoint an Acting AG if it’s a resignation,” notes Blake. “If he’s fired? It’s murkier. If Rosenstein forces Trump to fire him, Trump might have to fight legally to appoint an acting AG.”

Blake goes on to note that the White House earlier this year claimed that former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin willingly resigned, whereas Shulkin has insisted that he was fired and did not resign voluntarily.

This means that the White House could be trying to get word out that Rosenstein resigned as part of a spin campaign to justify Trump being given total power to appoint his replacement.

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WATCH: Town hall crowd explodes into applause as New Jersey lawmaker announces he will vote for Trump impeachment

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On Sunday morning CNN aired a clip of Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ) announcing before a town hall crowd on Saturday that he will vote for the impeachment of Donald Trump -- causing some of the audience members to explode into applause over his decision.

In the clip, the lawmaker explains, "Based on the evidence I have seen in the depositions, the hearings and the documents I've seen, I believe on the two counts of impeachment that the vote that has been put before us, that the vote should be yes, and I will be voting yes."

With that, the crowd burst into cheers with some leaping from their seats.

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ABC News had the goods on Jeffrey Epstein years ago — and killed the story

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Multimillionaire predator Jeffrey Epstein died in suspicious circumstances at a Manhattan correctional facility on Aug. 10. The wealthy and powerful New York financier, a convicted sex offender, stands accused by dozens of women and girls of trafficking, rape and sexual abuse. He was an enormously influential and well-connected man who counted as friends billionaire business ownersHollywood starsBritish royals, and even top media figures like Katie Couric and Charlie Rose — with some of his associates falling under suspicion of condoning or even participating in a pedophile ring.

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Child killed as quake strikes southern Philippines

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A powerful earthquake hit the southern Philippine island of Mindanao on Sunday, killing a child, injuring dozens and damaging buildings in an area still recovering from a string of deadly quakes in October.

Police said a rescue operation had been launched at a heavily damaged market building in Padada near the 6.8 magnitude quake's epicentre, which is about 90 kilometres (55 miles) south of the major city of Davao.

Patients were evacuated from hospitals as a precaution and nervous crowds massed outside shopping malls after the jolt and dozens of smaller, but strong aftershocks.

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