President Trump’s handpicked deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, personally approved the FBI raid on his longtime lawyer Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel room, the New York Times has learned.
In turn, Trump lashed out privately at Rosenstein, with the Washington Post reporting that he ‘stewed’ over the deputy attorney general’s role in the raid – ‘at times raising his voice.’
‘This is the president you’re going to see more of from on out: unvarnished, untethered,’ a White House insider said, according to Axios.
Behind closed doors, President Trump (left) is fuming over Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s (right) decision to sign off on a warrant of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen’s office, home and hotel room
Yesterday, federal agents raided the office, home and hotel room of President Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, reportedly gathering documents that related to the Stormy Daniels payout
During his Rosenstein-related outbursts, Trump fumed that he wished Rosenstein was not in the job, and that there was no one making the prosecutors follow the rules, a Trump adviser told the Post.
Trump also contemplated firing Rosenstein, sources told the Times, as the newspaper described the episode as being ‘deeply upsetting’ to White House staff, officials at the Justice Department and lawmakers from both political parties.
In public, Trump didn’t go that far, as he first brought up Rosenstein in the context of his controversial decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey, pointing out to reporters that Rosenstein supported Comey’s firing too.
‘Deputy Rosenstein – Rod Rosenstein – he wrote the letter, very critical, of Comey,’ Trump pointed out.
Trump then pointed out that Rosenstein had ‘signed the FISA warrant,’ referring to the warrant used to spy on the president’s campaign associate Carter Page.
‘So Rod Rosenstein, who’s in charge of this, signed a FISA warrant, and he also signed a letter that was essentially saying to fire James Comey,’ Trump said. ‘And he was right about that. He was absolutely right.’
‘So we’ll see what happens,’ the president added in a meeting with military advisers that was supposed to be about the strategy going forward in Syria after a reported chemical weapons attack.
‘I think it’s disgraceful, and so does a lot of people,’ Trump said of the Cohen raid.
‘This is a pure and simple witch hunt,’ the president said of Mueller’s Russia probe.
Trump circled back and again blamed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from all Russian-related matters because he had worked on Trump’s presidential campaign.
‘The attorney general made a terrible mistake when he did this, and when he recused himself,’ Trump said. ‘Or he should have certainly let us know if he was going to recuse himself, and we would have used a – put a different attorney general in.’
‘So he made what I consider to be a very terrible mistake for our country,’ Trump continued. ‘But you’ll figure that out.’