Trump Asked Rosenstein About His Loyalty

Pamela Brown, Evan Perez, and Laura Jarrett at CNN have a late-breaking exclusive this afternoon: Trump Asked Rosenstein If He Was 'on My Team'. It's exactly what it sounds like: In December, Donald Trump demanded to know if the Deputy Attorney General, who was overseeing the Russia investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions was obliged to recuse himself, was loyal to the president, or to the law.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking [Donald] Trump's help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump's support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.

But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel's Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was "on my team."

..."Of course, we're all on your team, Mr. President," Rosenstein told Trump, the sources said. It is not clear what Trump meant or how Rosenstein interpreted the comment.

...As a further sign of the President's focus on Rosenstein's testimony, one of the sources said Trump also had suggested questions to members of Congress that they could ask Rosenstein.
So, not only did Trump ask Rosenstein if he was on his team, but he also contacted Congressional investigators to try to shape what their inquiry of Rosenstein would look like.

These are clearly two more serious attempts by Trump to obstruct justice. And yet this, too, will almost certainly pass as no more than a mere blip in the news, like so many major stories about Trump's vast and varied corruptions.

Just last night, Iain and I were talking about Bob Mueller's investigation, and sharing our concerns with one another about how long it was taking, and I said to him that one of my primary worries is that the public's increased tolerance for abuses of power will mean that Mueller's findings (the public disclosure of which, by the way, is controlled by Rosenstein) might not even be met with significant public demand for accountability.

There is a very good chance, increasing every day, that the majority of the populace will greet a charge of obstruction, for example, with a shrug, because they expect abuses of power and contempt for the law from Trump. He has already redefined what is expected, and accepted, of a president, sheerly by virtue of his aggressive disregard for democratic norms.

And don't think that Trump and the Republican Party don't know it. The clock keeps ticking.

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