President Trump asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein during a White House meeting in December about where his loyalty stood, according to a report Wednesday.
Trump questioned Rosenstein about the direction special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation was heading and whether he was “on my team.”
Rosenstein is the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, and appointed Mueller to be in charge of the federal probe examining Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion. The Washington Post reported last summer that Mueller was also looking into whether Trump has obstructed justice.
Only Rosenstein can fire Mueller.
"Of course, we're all on your team, Mr. President," Rosenstein told Trump, CNN reported.
According to sources, Rosenstein was surprised by the president’s questions — especially because he had gone to meet with him to ask for support in fending off demands from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes for documents.
Rosenstein’s meeting with Trump came before his Dec. 13 appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, something on which the president was focused.
Trump reportedly suggested questions to lawmakers on the committee that they could ask Rosenstein, including whether he appointed Mueller because he was not appointed to be attorney general.
During the hearing, Rosenstein testified he had never received any “improper orders” from Trump, and said that “nobody has asked me to take a loyalty pledge.”
Trump has reportedly asked other top officials about their loyalty, including then-FBI Director James Comey in January 2017 and then acting-FBI Director Andrew McCabe in May 2017.