President Trump on Wednesday sharply criticized Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, hours after retweeting an image showing Rosenstein and several other current and former officials locked in a prison cell.
Trump has long vented about Rosenstein, who appointed Robert S. Mueller III to oversee the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 campaign. The president has repeatedly sought to discredit the investigation as a “witch hunt.”
Asked in an interview with the New York Post why he believes Rosenstein belongs behind bars, Trump replied, “He should have never picked a special counsel.”
Trump declined to answer a follow-up question on whether he intends to fire Rosenstein.
Earlier Wednesday, Trump railed against the Mueller probe and retweeted several tweets in the morning from the Trump Train, a fan account.
One of them showed 10 current and former government officials behind bars and asked: “Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?”
Among those depicted is Rosenstein, who was appointed to his position by Trump and until recently directly oversaw Mueller’s work. Others depicted include former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and former FBI director James B. Comey, whom Trump fired last year.
In Wednesday’s wide-ranging interview with the New York Post, Trump also said he plans to return to New York City when his time in the White House is up.
He claimed that he would be denied a Nobel Peace Prize in the same way that his TV show, “The Apprentice,” was denied an Emmy award in 2004 and 2005.
“ ‘Amazing Race’ got it because ‘Amazing Race’ was the establishment,” Trump said.
And he took aim at several potential 2020 challengers, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) as well as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“I’d love to run against Little Michael,” Trump said of Bloomberg.
He falsely claimed that while Booker was mayor of Newark, he had “decided not to live there, which was illegal.”
In 2013, Booker provided property records and documentation to BuzzFeed News showing that he did in fact live in Newark, after the Daily Caller published a piece quoting residents who said they had never seen him at his property.
Of Gillibrand, Trump noted that he “supported her early on” but that she’s “not going to make it,” citing her position on gun control.
The president last year prompted criticism with a tweet describing Gillibrand as someone who had previously come to him “begging” for donations and “would do anything for them.” He stopped short of using that language on Wednesday but once again brought up the topic.
“She’d be up in Trump Tower not asking — a stronger word than asking — for campaign contributions,” Trump told the New York Post.
John Wagner contributed to this report.