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NYT: Rosenstein discussed 25th amendment

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, The New York Times reported.

Posted: Sep 23, 2018 8:58 AM
Updated: Sep 23, 2018 9:18 AM

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.

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.

Cases: 659127

Reported Deaths: 12494
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion903271628
Lake48239872
Allen35663632
Hamilton31929395
St. Joseph29721510
Elkhart25306412
Vanderburgh21173377
Tippecanoe19873199
Johnson16290355
Porter15896268
Hendricks15765300
Clark11885179
Madison11704315
Vigo11538229
Monroe10285159
Delaware9815178
LaPorte9732195
Howard9030195
Kosciusko8529108
Bartholomew7412147
Hancock7392128
Warrick7389147
Floyd7172165
Wayne6616189
Grant6411157
Morgan6054124
Boone605388
Dubois5885111
Dearborn542366
Henry540792
Marshall5406104
Cass539699
Noble508176
Jackson463664
Shelby459390
Lawrence4165111
Gibson401081
Harrison397061
Clinton393753
Montgomery384283
DeKalb384078
Knox355784
Miami355663
Whitley347835
Huntington341276
Steuben337155
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White296151
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Greene260679
Posey260131
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Scott249649
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Clay239744
Randolph225276
Spencer216630
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Washington209327
Sullivan202639
Fountain200942
Starke186950
Owen181853
Fulton177737
Jay177328
Carroll176118
Perry173035
Orange170750
Rush164322
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Franklin158835
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Pike127432
Blackford120327
Pulaski106444
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Ohio52911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 962404

Reported Deaths: 17125
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1113121196
Cuyahoga948671715
Hamilton72843954
Montgomery47066879
Summit39845950
Butler35195464
Lucas34971757
Stark29161836
Warren22244270
Lorain21846388
Mahoning19314540
Lake18273301
Clermont18248208
Delaware16320131
Licking14864199
Fairfield14418157
Trumbull14202458
Greene13501212
Medina13263219
Clark12162335
Wood11433193
Portage10897155
Allen10732233
Richland10203205
Miami9969184
Columbiana8077180
Muskingum8068127
Tuscarawas7993235
Pickaway798698
Marion7954137
Wayne7828217
Erie6820184
Ross6092136
Geauga6010129
Hancock5955112
Ashtabula5907144
Scioto5890104
Lawrence521473
Union507852
Darke5016123
Belmont485788
Jefferson4747107
Huron4745117
Sandusky474594
Seneca4633103
Athens459431
Mercer4574101
Washington456487
Auglaize454598
Shelby440168
Knox399586
Putnam3971101
Madison390547
Ashland376695
Fulton376264
Defiance3688102
Brown368242
Crawford355796
Logan351558
Preble351370
Clinton338063
Highland325455
Ottawa320667
Williams300577
Jackson287956
Guernsey284634
Champaign283845
Fayette266844
Perry266243
Morrow257824
Henry243865
Holmes2425104
Hardin242256
Coshocton231647
Van Wert228149
Gallia220246
Adams214532
Pike213227
Wyandot208652
Hocking192648
Carroll179528
Paulding158323
Meigs134036
Noble128442
Monroe115636
Morgan99934
Harrison99732
Vinton76515
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