Sources: Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly taping Trump

In the days after FBI Director James Comey's May 2017 firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discuss...

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 8:23 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2018 8:23 PM

In the days after FBI Director James Comey's May 2017 firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a "wire" to record conversations with President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, according to sources familiar with memos authored by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe documenting the discussions.

The extraordinary allegations, depicting a panic-stricken No. 2 official at the Justice Department who has been a target of the President in the past, immediately raised questions about Rosenstein's future and how Trump would react. The revelations prompted Rosenstein to take the remarkable step of denying the report in two separate statements.

Andrew McCabe

Companies

Continents and regions

Donald Trump

Eastern Europe

Europe

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government organizations - US

Investigations

Law and legal system

New York Times Co

Political Figures - US

Politics

Robert Mueller

Rod Rosenstein

Russia

Russia meddling investigation

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

White House

Donald Trump, Jr.

James Comey

Government departments and authorities

Justice departments

US Congress

Jim Jordan

Lisa Page

Misc people

The story was first reported by The New York Times.

CNN has not reviewed the McCabe memos, but they have been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources familiar with the matter. Rosenstein oversees Mueller's investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and recently secured the cooperation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Rosenstein issued two rare statements himself forcefully denying the Times' report -- the broad strokes of which were eventually widely reported by other outlets.

"The New York Times's story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the Department and are advancing their own personal agenda," Rosenstein said in a statement. "But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."

While none of Rosenstein's proposals came to fruition, according to the Times report, the remarkable details of the memos -- whether a wholly accurate reflection of all that transpired or not -- could further imperil Rosenstein's delicate standing in Trump's eyes.

Two sources familiar with the matter say Rosenstein was at the White House Friday evening for about a half hour, where he consulted with top aides and told to issue a firmer denial. The sources would not specify who the aides were.

Later he issued a second statement: "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

The President sought advice on whether he should fire Rosenstein, and some of those in his orbit tried to sway him not to make any decision Friday night, The Washington Post reported. During those discussions, the President relayed that he did not trust Rosenstein or McCabe, according to the Post.

'Lingering stench' at Justice Department, Trump says

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the top official at the department, was "upset" and "concerned" upon reading the Times story, according to a source close to him. After the story broke, former Justice Department officials went into damage control mode trying to dismiss McCabe's recollection of his interactions with Rosenstein.

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement to CNN that his client "drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions."

"When he was interviewed by the special counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos -- classified and unclassified -- to the special counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos," Bromwich added.

Amid rampant speculation over the source of the Times story, a representative for McCabe said no one associated with him shared info on his memos with media. Melissa Schwartz tweeted, "Let me be 100% clear: no one associated with Andrew McCabe or his team shared, read, described, whispered or blinked in Morse Code any part of his memos with any reporter."

As of late Friday evening, the White House had still not commented on the story, but Trump told a rally in Missouri, "there's a lingering stench" at the FBI and Justice Department and promised ominously, "we're going to get rid of that, too."

The President's son Donald Trump Jr. tweeted the Times story and said: "No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine ⁦‪@realDonaldTrump‬⁩."

Congressional fight begins

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned the White House not to use the story to try to fire Rosenstein.

"This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel's investigation," Schumer said in a statement. "Generals Kelly, Mattis and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired."

Rosenstein has been a frequent target of the President, who has called the special counsel's investigation a witch hunt and a hoax, and House Republicans have threatened to hold the deputy attorney general in contempt or to even impeach him.

Two of Rosenstein's most vocal critics in the House, Republican Reps. Jim Jordan of Ohio and Mark Meadows of North Carolina, called for McCabe's memos to be released via Twitter.

Jordan, who along with Meadows has introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, declined to weigh in on whether Rosenstein's discussions about a wearing a wire and the 25th Amendment were grounds for Trump to fire him, saying that was a decision for the President.

But Jordan told CNN in an interview Friday that it underscored the fact that Congress should be given a copy of the McCabe memos, which he says Republicans were denied when they sought them in July. "Mr. Rosenstein says he didn't say what The New York Times is writing about. Let us see all the information and we can all judge for ourselves," Jordan said.

In April, CNN reported Trump considered firing Rosenstein in the aftermath of the FBI's raid on the President's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen. Trump also suggested he might remove Rosenstein in February after Rosenstein was named in the House Republican memo alleging abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. When asked by reporters in the Oval Office if he was considering firing Rosenstein, Trump said: "You figure that one out."

Yet Trump has also repeatedly painted McCabe as a serial liar. In April, after the Justice Department inspector general released a report damaging to McCabe, Trump promoted the report on Twitter and said it was a "total disaster" for McCabe. Trump added, "He LIED! LIED! LIED!"

Sessions fired McCabe in March over accusations that he had approved other FBI officials speaking with the media about an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation and had misled investigators about his actions.

McCabe has fiercely disputed the findings of the Justice Department's inspector general, but he is still under criminal investigation by the US Attorney's Office in DC.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 155246

Reported Deaths: 4065
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25151785
Lake13570355
St. Joseph9145161
Elkhart8759135
Allen8129228
Hamilton6117113
Vanderburgh576760
Tippecanoe369515
Hendricks3268133
Monroe325738
Porter313649
Johnson3105128
Clark293961
Delaware293274
Vigo260538
Madison235093
Cass224022
LaPorte222858
Warrick192965
Kosciusko182625
Floyd179167
Howard162466
Bartholomew141558
Dubois138626
Marshall137426
Wayne126930
Henry125429
Grant125339
Boone122250
Hancock118245
Noble115933
Jackson112915
Dearborn94928
Morgan93740
Lawrence87436
Daviess87133
Gibson87111
Clinton84716
Shelby81730
LaGrange80115
Harrison76224
Knox75610
Putnam72816
Posey7146
DeKalb71011
Fayette66618
Steuben6278
Miami6095
Jasper5945
White58515
Montgomery58322
Greene53337
Scott51813
Decatur50439
Adams4837
Whitley4556
Clay4467
Ripley4418
Sullivan43714
Wells4288
Wabash4119
Starke4077
Orange40425
Huntington3905
Spencer3906
Washington3753
Franklin37225
Jennings36713
Fulton3523
Randolph3529
Jefferson3415
Pike33018
Carroll32513
Perry31014
Jay3056
Fountain2943
Tipton27523
Vermillion2411
Parke2323
Newton22511
Rush2154
Blackford2093
Owen2051
Martin1990
Crawford1581
Pulaski1521
Brown1393
Ohio1297
Benton1100
Union1100
Switzerland920
Warren781
Unassigned0234

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 190430

Reported Deaths: 5161
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin31466640
Cuyahoga19706682
Hamilton16687343
Montgomery10377189
Lucas8285373
Butler8276129
Summit6689265
Warren420064
Stark3796181
Mahoning3709286
Marion338850
Pickaway301146
Delaware287227
Lorain272889
Fairfield264457
Licking257966
Wood249681
Clark249456
Clermont245938
Greene229242
Trumbull2270134
Allen213073
Columbiana212887
Miami199958
Lake193659
Medina185642
Portage162068
Mercer152128
Wayne140269
Ross139436
Richland132324
Tuscarawas129024
Athens12052
Erie115553
Darke114451
Madison105415
Hancock104725
Auglaize100616
Putnam97427
Lawrence93025
Shelby90914
Muskingum8884
Geauga85950
Scioto8599
Belmont78827
Union7583
Ashtabula72648
Sandusky71122
Huron70912
Preble62418
Holmes61710
Seneca60114
Ottawa58430
Fulton53711
Henry47317
Jefferson4694
Clinton46413
Defiance46013
Jackson4598
Crawford4528
Fayette4498
Highland4304
Logan4233
Ashland3986
Champaign3983
Knox38416
Brown3793
Perry36611
Washington35124
Morrow3442
Hardin33613
Williams3354
Coshocton32112
Guernsey3218
Pike3000
Wyandot29513
Gallia29113
Van Wert2633
Meigs21012
Adams2096
Paulding2012
Carroll2007
Hocking1979
Monroe16118
Noble1290
Vinton963
Harrison803
Morgan780
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Few Clouds
64° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 64°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 71° Lo: 35°
Feels Like: 63°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
66° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 75° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 77° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 61°
Friday Afternoon Showers & Thunderstorms
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events