The president has been talking about Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller and the special lawyer's investigation, in recent weeks, according to four sources familiar with the situation. Sometimes, Trump even complains about wanting Rosenstein to be eliminated, said two of those sources. A source said that the president makes comments such as "let's fire him, let's get rid of him" before his advisers convince him that it is a nefarious idea.
Trump's first year in office has been marked by concern over an investigation he has described as a "witch hunt" and his informed efforts to bring it to an early conclusion.
After Attorney General Jeff Sessions pulled out of the investigation, Trump took the dramatic step of firing FBI Director James Comey, but only after asking for a pledge of allegiance and rejecting the FBI's investigation of the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, according to Comey.
The measure led to the appointment of a special attorney in May 2017, a development that continues to annoy the President. While Trump often directed that anger in Sessions in June, he directed his anger at Mueller and wanted the special lawyer to be fired, a source confirmed to CNN after he first reported to The New York Times. White House counsel, Don McGahn, refused to order the Justice Department to fire Mueller, the source said, because he did not agree with the President's reasoning.
Trump was in a good mood on Friday morning as he prepared to deliver statements in Davos, a source that time with Trump behind the scenes, he said. There were no signs of being bothered by reports of his decision to fire Mueller, said this person, and Trump did not mention the issue.
But since a special lawyer was appointed, the president's frustrations have continued to simmer. Trump has come to see Rosenstein as one in the same situation as Mueller, another government official looking to get the president, a source said.
The sources described Trump's frustration with Rosenstein as largely bluffing.
When this happens, they all say: & # 39; That is the death march. That will not achieve anything & # 39; ", said a source familiar with the situation.
He requested a comment, the White House Special Advisor, Ty Cobb, said in a statement:" We do not believe it is a coincidence that there is an avalanche of false stories circulating in what appears to be a coordinated effort to distract and deflect new revelations about already informed prejudices and corruption. We continue to cooperate with the special lawyer and out of respect for that process will not weigh more. "
The Department of Justice declined to comment.
Mueller's office has focused on decisions that seemed to dominate much of the President's thinking in his first year in office: the layoffs of Flynn and Comey, as well as any pressure that may have exerted on Sessions.