Trump signals that he has no confidence in Deputy AG Rosenstein

Trump signals that he has no confidence in Deputy AG Rosenstein
© Getty

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE declined to say Friday whether he supports Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-federal prosecutor: I would have 'owned' wearing a wire to record Trump The embarrassing return of Andrew McCabe The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE, who has been overseeing Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE’s special counsel investigation. 

Trump’s remarks came just minutes after he authorized the release of a controversial memo written by the staff of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears ‘Fox & Friends’ host asks if McCabe opening FBI probe into Trump was attempt to ‘overthrow government’ Nunes says GOP lawmakers looking through Russia transcripts, will make DOJ referrals MORE (R-Calif.).

“You figure that one out,” Trump told reporters, when asked if he has confidence in Rosenstein.

Rosenstein appointed Mueller to the special counsel position and has been overseeing the investigation, meaning that Trump would likely have to fire him if he chose to fire Mueller.

The four-page memo, which alleges surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice and political bias at the FBI, has become a partisan flashpoint in the Russia investigation.

ADVERTISEMENT

The Justice Department and FBI have warned the White House and Congress against releasing the memo, saying it is based on flawed or partial intelligence and could expose sensitive sources and methods. 

But Republicans have been sounding the alarm over what they say is deep political bias and questionable intelligence used to launch the investigation into whether Trump campaign officials had improper contacts with Russia. Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee blocked the release of a Democratic memo created in response to the Republican memo.

Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill are furious with Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE for recusing himself, believing it paved the way for Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

They believe Rosenstein is allowing the investigation to run too far afield from its original charter and have grouped him in with a handful of senior law enforcement officials accused of harboring anti-Trump bias.