Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Donald Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.
But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.”
The episode is the latest to come to light portraying a President whose inquiries sometimes cross a line that presidents traditionally have tried to avoid when dealing with the Justice Department, for which a measure of independence is key. The exchange could raise further questions about whether Trump was seeking to interfere in the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is looking into potential collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia and obstruction of justice by the White House.
At the December meeting, the deputy attorney general appeared surprised by the President’s questions, the sources said. He demurred on the direction of the Russia investigation, which Rosenstein has ultimate authority over now that his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has recused himself. And he responded awkwardly to the President’s “team” request, the sources said.
“Of course, we’re all on your team, Mr. President,” Rosenstein told Trump, the sources said. It is not clear what Trump meant or how Rosenstein interpreted the comment.
The Justice Department declined to comment for this story. The White House did not comment.
I’m guessing they are talking about December 2017.
This president does not learn his lesson about loyalty when it comes to law enforcement.
The article goes on to say that Trump gave members of Congress suggested questions they could ask Rosenstein to try to undermine the reputation of the Mueller probe. He SPECIFICALLY suggested GOP pursue accusation that Rosenstein appointed Mueller as payback against Trump. He EXPLICITLY was attempting to undermine Mueller’s investigation of Russian hacking… via coordination with House GOP.
Ok then. Let’s recap:
President Trump to FBI director Jim Comey (Jan 2017): “I need loyalty, I expect loyalty.”
President Trump to acting FBI director Andy McCabe (May 2017): Who did you vote for?
President Trump to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Dec 2017): Are you “on my team?”
Sarah Sanders likes to repeat how the White House is cooperating with the Mueller investigation. This does not seem to be the case.