In ‘Expansive’ Defense of the Mueller Probe, Rod Rosenstein Claims President Trump Has Been ‘Supportive’

The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday evening dropped what it called an “expansive interview” of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who defended his appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel and claimed that, at the end of the Russia investigation, Americans would have “confidence” this was no witch hunt.

The interview drops on the same day Bloomberg reported that Rosenstein was “pressing” Mueller to wrap up the investigation as “expeditiously as possible.”

Here are some of the main takeaways from the report.

He pushed back on the idea that the Probe is a “rigged witch hunt,” but didn’t push back too hard

“People are entitled to be frustrated, I can accept that,” he said.

Rosenstein predicted (hoped?) that, at the end of the investigation, Americans would be confident in that the cases resulting from the probe “were warranted by the evidence and that it was an appropriate use of resources.”

He claims President Trump has been “supportive”

Rosenstein seemed like he was a lock to be fired or to resign from his post just a couple of weeks ago after the New York Times claiming he discussed invoking the 25th Amendment and suggested wearing a wire to record the president. He denied all of it and eventually met with President Donald Trump on Air Force One. Trump said that the 30-minute meeting was “great.” He didn’t answer questions about the Times story.

On Wednesday, Rosenstein said that Trump has actually been “supportive,” despite the fact that president often calls the Mueller investigation a “rigged witch hunt.”

“I have a solemn responsibility to make sure that cases like that are pursued and prosecuted, and I’m pleased the president has been supportive of that,” he said.

He also said that Trump knows he will continue to work as Deputy Attorney General “as long as he wants me to do this job” and that he “serve[s] at the pleasure of the president.”

Rosenstein says the Mueller Probe has been “appropriate and independent”

After Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, Rosenstein was the next person up. He told WSJ that, in his view, he’s been “faithful” to the promises he made when he was confirmed.

What promises were those? Rosenstein said that it was “ensur[ing] the investigation was appropriate and independent and reached the right result, whatever it may be.”

“I believe that our department and our office have been appropriately managing that investigation,” he would add.

Rosenstein wouldn’t comment on how long the Mueller investigation would carry on. That Rosenstein wouldn’t do that or wouldn’t guesstimate about a timetable is certainly no surprise. But between the reporting that he has urged Mueller to bring the investigation to an end expeditiously, the reporting Mueller will drop key developments after the November midterm elections and the WSJ reporting that the special counsel’s office has “taken some actions suggesting it could wrap up within several months,” perhaps the end of the investigation is not so far away after all.

[Image via Drew Angerer/Getty Images]

Matt Naham is managing editor of Law&Crime. He formerly worked as news editor and weekend editor at Rare.

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