Kevin Daley on February 2, 2018
President Donald Trump hinted that he no longer has confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Friday, after the House Select Committee on Intelligence memo on alleged FISA abuses suggested he authorized surveillance of a former Trump aide based on campaign opposition research.
Trump replied cryptically when asked in the Oval Office if he still has confidence in Rosenstein, saying only “You figure that one out.”
Trump on if he has confidence in Rosenstein: ‘You figure that one out’ https://t.co/9mCjZESvCA pic.twitter.com/C2xmGut3Da
— POLITICO (@politico) February 2, 2018
The exchange came shortly after the president lambasted current and former leaders of the Justice Department and the FBI on Twitter, alleging senior leadership politicized the investigative process on matters relating to the 2016 presidential campaign.
The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process in favor of Democrats and against Republicans – something which would have been unthinkable just a short time ago. Rank & File are great people!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2018
Whatever the president’s frustrations with the deputy attorney general, firing him is wrought with political peril. Rosenstein assumed supervision of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal. As such, his dismissal would likely be seen as comprising Mueller’s ongoing inquiry.
Trump has expressed suspicion of Rosenstein before. He previously noted that Rosenstein is from Baltimore, Md., — a heavily Democratic city — so as to imply that he has liberal sympathies.
“There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any,” Trump told The New York Times in July 2017. Rosenstein is in fact from Philadelphia, Pa., though he is a longtime resident of Maryland.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was evasive when asked if Trump distrusts the deputy attorney general, during a press briefing Monday.
“When the president no longer has confidence in someone, you’ll know,” she said.
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