Embattled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump a week ago that he is not a target of the investigation of his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, two sources close to Trump told ABC News.
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Rosenstein on his own brought up the probe of Cohen to the president during that meeting, sources said.
The Department of Justice declined to comment on the matter.
The president has repeatedly threatened both publicly and privately to fire Rosenstein, as he has also done with both Attorney General Jeff Sessions and special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible ties to Trump associates.
However, on Wednesday, Trump seemed to take a different tack, responding to a reporter’s question about the fate of the three officials by saying “they’re still here.”
“They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months,” Trump said while in Florida. “And they’re still here. We want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us. And we have to get back to business.”
At the same time, as ABC News has reported, the president has been “less inclined” to sit down for an interview with Mueller since an FBI raid on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room on April 9, according to sources.
Trump’s legal team last met with Mueller’s office about a potential Trump interview on the same day as the Cohen raid.
Now with longtime Trump friend and surrogate Rudy Giuliani‘s joining the Trump legal team, he will be part of all negotiations with Mueller’s office going forward.
The former New York City mayor and federal prosecutor says his job is to help Mueller get “what he needs to wrap it up” and to “try to negotiate a way to get this over with.”
Giuliani’s joining comes after the Trump team searched for several weeks to fill a void left by the abrupt departure of the president’s lead attorney, John Dowd. Dowd quit in part because he felt the President was taking less of his advice, sources told ABC News.
ABC News’ Jack Date and Jordyn Phelps contributed to this report.