Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump he would make sure Trump was treated fairly in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe in a plea to keep his job, The Washington Post reported on Friday.
In September, The New York Times first reported Rosenstein discussed wearing a “wire” to secretly record conversations with Trump and recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. CNN later confirmed the story. He reportedly made these suggestions in the days after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey.
On a call with Trump, who was in New York and looking for an explanation in response to the Times report, Rosenstein attempted to assure the President that Rosenstein was on Trump’s team, people familiar with the matter told the Post. He criticized the Times report and blamed it on former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, according to the Post.
He told Trump he would make sure he was treated fairly in Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the Post reports, citing people familiar with the conversation.
“I give the investigation credibility,” Rosenstein told Trump, according to an administration official offering their own characterization of the call to the Post. “I can land the plane.”
Rosenstein got teary-eyed in a meeting with Trump’s then-chief of staff John Kelly just before the call with Trump, according to the newspaper.
In a statement obtained by CNN in response to the Post report, Rosenstein said: “The only commitment I made to President Trump about the Russia investigation is the same commitment I made to the Congress: so long as I was in charge, it would be conducted appropriately and as expeditiously as possible.”
“Everyone who actually participated in the investigation knows that,” Rosenstein continued. “My relationship with the President is not one-dimensional. The Russia investigation represents only a fraction of my work and the work of the Department of Justice.”
A source familiar with the matter tells CNN Rosenstein was not “teary-eyed” in the meeting with Kelly.
In a speech Thursday night, Rosenstein took this issue head on and told the crowd that one “silly question that I get from reporters” is whether it’s true that he ever got “emotional or angry a few times” over the past two years.
“Heck yes, didn’t you!” he said.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.