The bizarre sequence of leaks surrounding the fate of deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Monday morning raised a series of questions about whether President Donald Trump actually planned to fire the man overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Sources tell Vanity Fair's Gabe Sherman that Trump over the weekend floated the possibility of firing Rosenstein as a way to knock the scandal swirling around Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh out of the headlines.
"The strategy was to try and do something really big," explained one source to Sherman.
Rosenstein still has a job for now, but Trump is scheduled to speak with his embattled deputy AG on Thursday -- the same day that Kavanaugh accuser Christine Blasey Ford is set to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Although Sherman doesn't know if Trump actually was the person who leaked Rosenstein's intention to resign, he does note that the leak "certainly had the desired effect of driving Kavanaugh out of the news for a few hours."
Sherman also reports that Trump has been considering cutting bait with Kavanaugh at the advice of allies who fear that watching a Supreme Court nomination go down in flames will crush conservative voters' turnout this fall -- thus potentially giving both the House and Senate to the Democrats, who will initiate impeachment proceedings against him.
"Trump is finally waking up... that it's the end of his presidency if he loses the Senate," one source said.