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President Donald Trump criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for being from Baltimore in a lengthy interview with the New York Times published Wednesday.
Rosenstein is actually from Philadelphia. Trump’s deputy attorney general had served in the Justice Department during the Clinton, Bush, and Obama administrations. Prior to being named deputy attorney general, Rosenstein served for 12 years as US Attorney for the District of Maryland.
Speaking with Times reporters, Trump said he ended “up with a second man, who’s a deputy” after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from Russia-related investigations that involved the Trump campaign.
“Who is he?” Trump said. “And Jeff hardly knew. He’s from Baltimore.”
“Rod Rosenstein, who is from Baltimore,” Trump later added. “There are very few Republicans in Baltimore, if any. So, he’s from Baltimore.”
Trump’s relationship with Rosenstein has been fraught. Rosenstein was responsible for hiring special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation, which includes a probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 campaign. Rosenstein appointed Mueller after Trump suddenly fired James Comey as FBI director in May. Comey was overseeing that investigation, which was being carried out by the FBI.
Rosenstein had also written the recommendation to fire Comey, which was cited by Sessions and Trump as the rationale for his firing. But days later, Trump admitted in an interview with NBC News that he would’ve fired Comey regardless of any recommendation.
Rosenstein declined to address Trump’s comments during a Justice Department press conference Thursday, saying that he “was proud to be here yesterday, I’m proud to be here today, I’ll be proud to work here tomorrow.”