Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told President Donald Trump that he is not the target of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation.
The revelation, from Bloomberg Politics, dramatically changes the playing field where Trump has spent a year defensively zig-zagging while simultaneously threatening to steamroll his adversaries.
Trump has said for more than 11 months that former FBI director James Comey had told him – on three separate occasions – that he wasn’t under investigation, even as Mueller probed whether his presidential campaign aides colluded with Russians to impact the 2016 election.
It’s unclear whether Trump ever was a target. It’s also not a given that he won’t be one in the future.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s job has been hanging by a thread for months because he appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate unproven claims that the Trump campaign colluded with Russians to impact the 2016 election
President Trump has said for nearly a year that former FBI Director James Comey had assured him three times that he wasn’t being personally investigated
An official who spoke to Bloomberg said Mueller hasn’t ruled out moving the goalposts later.
Rosenstein appointed Mueller to the special counsel position after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe because he had worked with the campaign himself.
The deputy AG’s unprompted revelation to Trump came a week ago during a meeting at the White House.
That led the president to climb down from his threats to fire both Rosenstein and Mueller – omens that sometimes thundered throughout the West Wing.
Knowing he was not personally in legal jeopardy, Bloomberg reported, Trump told senior aides that throwing either man overboard would be counterproductive.
‘They’re still here’: President Trump said cryptically on Wednesday during a press conference that Mueller and Rosenstein haven’t gone anywhere yet – but dodged a question about the potential political falling from firing them
Mueller, a former FBI director, has been characteristically silent about his investigation, leading to rampant speculation that the president could be a target later
A protester held up a sign calling for Trump’s arrest on Thursday in Key West, Florida as the president’s motorcade passed by
Trump is said to be wary of taking any action that would drag out Mueller’s tenure or open new avenues of inquiry for him.
On Wednesday during a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minster Shinzō Abe in Florida, Trump was asked point-blank if he had decided what to do with Rosenstein and Mueller.
‘They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months,’ the president replied, ‘and they’re still here.’
‘We want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us. And we have to get back to business.’