At the December meeting, the deputy attorney general appeared surprised by the President’s questions, the sources said. He demurred on the direction of the Russia investigation, which Rosenstein has ultimate authority over now that his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has recused himself. And he responded awkwardly to the President’s “team” request, the sources said.
“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.
One line of inquiry Trump proposed lawmakers ask about was whether Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election because Mueller was not selected as FBI director. CNN has reported that Trump has been venting to his aides about Rosenstein in recent weeks and even raised the possibility of his removal. Sources say Trump believes Rosenstein was upset Mueller wasn’t selected as FBI director and responded by making him special counsel. It does not appear those questions were asked of Rosenstein at the hearing.