President Donald Trump summoned Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to the White House on Thursday afternoon, according to Fox News. Rosenstein was seen leaving the White House after spending about an hour with the president.
The meeting took place days after the Russia investigation, which Rosenstein oversees, appeared to run out of bounds with FBI agents raiding the home, hotel room, and office of Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday.
A White House official said that Trump and Rosenstein met about routine matters. The meeting appears to have been arranged quickly since Rosenstein failed to appear at a scheduled event with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Justice Department officials said that Trump and Rosenstein discussed document production to Congress. Rosenstein also met White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Trump has criticized Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller over their handling of the probe into allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. The investigation is approaching its anniversary and has not produced a single indictment supporting the collusion claim.
“Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter),” Trump tweeted Wednesday.
By FISA, Trump was referring to the Foreign Affairs Surveillance Court warrant application to surveil Trump-campaign volunteer Carter Page. That application was based largely on an unverified dossier compiled by a former British spy who was ultimately paid by Hillary Clinton. The former spy used second- and third-hand sources close to the Kremlin while the company which hired him to perform the work, Fusion GPS, received money from Russia.
Much of the bad blood with Russia is caused by the Fake & Corrupt Russia Investigation, headed up by the all Democrat loyalists, or people that worked for Obama. Mueller is most conflicted of all (except Rosenstein who signed FISA & Comey letter). No Collusion, so they go crazy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2018
Trump appointed Rosenstein who in turn appointed Mueller. Sessions, also a Trump appointee, recused himself from the Russia investigation.
Mueller, the main investigator in the Russia probe, referred Cohen’s case to federal authorities in New York because the matter is outside the boundaries of the Russia probe. Rosenstein personally signed off on the decision to raid Cohen.
Monday’s raid marked the first time in modern U.S. history that the personal lawyer for a president was raided by the FBI. According to leaks from Mueller’s probe to the New York Times, the agents were seeking information on payments Cohen made to two women who claim to have had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago. Cohen and Trump deny the women’s claims. Trump said he didn’t know about the payment till last month.
The investigators pursued the details about the payments because they believe the money constitutes an in-kind campaign contribution by Cohen, which would exceed the legal limit for an individual donor. This rationale was debunked on Tuesday by the former chairman of the Federal Elections Commission, who said that hush money cannot be counted as a campaign contribution.