Trump ‘venting’ about Rosenstein: report
President Trump has reportedly been venting about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and has made comments about wanting to remove him, according to a new report from CNN.
Four sources told CNN that the president has in recent weeks maintained his frustration with Rosenstein, the No. 2 Justice Department official overseeing the federal Russia probe.
One source told CNN that Trump has outright called for Rosenstein to be removed, making comments like “let’s fire him, let’s get rid of him” before aides dissuade him from such a move.
The report comes one day after a bombshell New York Times report revealed that Trump tried to fire special counsel Robert Mueller last June before White House counsel Don McGahn refused and threatened to quit, forcing Trump to back down.
Trump on Friday dismissed the report as “fake news” while attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
“Fake news. Fake news. Typical New York Times. Fake stories,” Trump told reporters.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller as the special counsel to lead the Russia probe after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May. Trump has reportedly complained about Rosenstein before, calling him a “threat” to his presidency.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from the Russia investigation led to Rosenstein becoming the one to directly oversee the special counsel probe. Lawmakers from both parties have warned against any efforts to fire Mueller.
Rosenstein told the House Judiciary Committee in December that he sees no “good cause” to fire Mueller.
When the topic of firing Rosenstein comes up, aides have deterred Trump by telling him that it won’t help his case, CNN reported.
“When this comes up — everyone says, ‘That’s the death march. That’s not going to accomplish anything,’ ” a source told the network.
The Justice Department declined to comment for CNN’s report, while a White House lawyer blasted “false stories.”
“We do not find it to be a coincidence that there is an onslaught of false stories circulating in what appears to be a coordinated effort to distract and deflect from new revelations about already reported bias and corruption,” White House special counsel Ty Cobb said in a statement to CNN. “We continue to cooperate with the Special counsel and out of respect for that process will not weigh in further.”
The CNN and New York Times reports come as Mueller’s team reportedly probes allegations of obstruction of justice involving Trump.