Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Trust Is Everything: Trump Sought Loyalty of Mueller's Boss in Russiagate

Robert Mueller.   Thomson Reuters Robert Mueller. Thomson Reuters
Nellie Chapman | 01 February, 2018, 08:17

According to CNN, President Donald Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Department of Justice official in the Russian Federation investigation, if he was "on my team". Trump then asked Rosenstein if he was "on my team", sources say.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives at the Newseum to participate in a chat about the state of the internet, hosted by The Internet Society, on January 29, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Trump also brought up Rosenstein's upcoming testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, CNN reported, citing an unnamed source briefed on the matter.

So what do the president's questions mean?

Rosenstein reportedly replied to Trump's inquiry: "Of course, we're all on your team, Mr. President".

The memo also asserts the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Justice Department may have relied on the dossier compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in order to obtain the warrant necessary to watch Page. The White House did not respond to emailed questions.

Rosenstein's White House meet with Trump came just a few days before his December 13 testimony to the House Judiciary Committee.

One line of inquiry Trump proposed lawmakers ask about was whether Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election because Mueller was not selected as Federal Bureau of Investigation director. Trump reportedly asked Rosenstein. Sources say Trump believes Rosenstein was upset Mueller wasn't selected as Federal Bureau of Investigation director and responded by making him special counsel.

Rosenstein would later testify that Trump never asked him to "take a loyalty pledge" and that "as long as you are following your oath of office, you can also be faithful to the administration". A recent story claims that Trump asked former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election.

Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller in May after Trump fired Comey, has faced the president's wrath throughout his first year in office. One source told CNN that the president has made comments such as "let's fire him, let's get rid of him".

White House chief of staff John Kelly later notified the Justice Department that the President would not help block access to the documents.