CNN reports that Trump asked Rod Rosenstein if Rosenstein was on “[Trump]’s team.”
Trump continues to shatter the expected independence between Justice Department and the White House. The Justice Department enjoys far greater independence than any other administrative agency even in periods without an investigation of the White House.
As an example, Director Comey spoke to President Obama alone on only two occasions, once in 2015 to discuss law enforcement policy issues, and once when President Obama came to say good-bye prior to leaving office. President Trump, however, who knows he and his administration is under investigation, spoke to Comey alone 9 times in four months, three in person and six by phone.
The same pattern apparently holds concerning Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein:
Washington (CNN)Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President 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.”
Trump supporters continue to believe that the entire matter is a hoax, and yet Trump cannot control himself, bizarrely asking for loyalty and crossing all institutional norms.
This is not normal behavior, nor is the president normal. We now only need know the extent of the president’s abnormal criminal liability.
Dictators request personal loyalty. Americans request loyalty to the constitution and the country. Trump continues to see personal loyalty from those around him. In any other administration, this would be the top story for a month.