During a meeting in December, President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein if he was “on my team,” CNN reported Wednesday. Rosenstein’s reply was apparently diplomatic: “Of course, we are all on your team, Mr. President.”
Trump’s question reportedly came as he asked Rosenstein for information about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. CNN notes that “it is not clear what Trump meant or how Rosenstein interpreted the comment,” but the deputy attorney general was apparently “surprised” by the question as well as by how the meeting unfolded. CNN says that Rosenstein had come to the White House hoping to secure the president’s support in dealing with repeated document requests from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), but Trump instead questioned him about Mueller’s probe.
The president, CNN reports, also asked Rosenstein several questions about his then-upcoming appearance before the House Judiciary Committee. Former FBI Director James Comey in June submitted a statement to the Senate Intelligence Committee claiming that Trump had asked for his loyalty — a request Comey says he refused. Trump fired Comey shortly thereafter.
During his testimony to the House, which took place just days after his meeting with Trump, Rosenstein denied that he’d ever been asked for any type of “loyalty pledge” by any elected official.