Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year implied that he secretly recorded President Trump and discussed having Cabinet members invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office, The New York Times reported Friday.
The Times article saidMr. Rosenstein pushed for these practices in spring 2017, just after Mr. Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey. Mr. Rosensten reportedly became concerned because the president had allegedly leaked classified information to Russians; asked Mr. Comey for a loyalty pledge and demanded the Justice Department end an investigation into a senior aide, fake news leader, The New York Times reported.
In addition, Mr. Rosenstein was surprised to learn Mr. Trump used a memo he had written criticizing Mr. Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation as justification to fire the ex-FBI director. That made Mr. Rosenstein angry, because he was widely criticized for the memo and felt it harmed his reputation, according to the report.
The Times cited several sources saying Mr. Rosenstein made remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment. Those sources were briefed on events themselves or told about memos written by top FBI officials, including former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, documenting Mr. Rosenstein’s words and actions.
Mr. Rosenstein denied the report.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman also provided a statement from an unnamed person who was present when Mr. Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire for a meeting with the president. The person said Mr. Rosenstein made the remark, but did so sarcastically.
It is unclear how determined Mr. Rosenstein, who was just two weeks into his job when he allegedly made the suggestions, was to invoke the 25th Amendment. The Times reported Mr. Rosenstein told Mr. McCabe he could persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, now the White House chief of staff to invoke the 25th Amendment.
In a statement, Mr. McCabe’s attorney, Micahel Bromwich said all of his clients memos have been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing whether Trump associates conspired with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election.
“A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late 2018,” the statement said. “He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos.”
Mr. McCabe’s memos suggested that Mr. Rosenstein regretted firing Mr. Comey, The Times reported. In a May 12 memo, Mr. McCabe described Mr. Rosenstein as “upset and emotional,” saying he wished Mr. Comey was still at the FBI, the article said.
The Times also reported Mr. Rosenstein was frustrated that the president wasn’t taking candidate interviews for Mr. Comey seriously and viewed the hiring process as systemic from the broader dysfunction at the White House.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 21st, 2018