Published: Fri, September 21, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Rod Rosenstein denies voicing plot to remove Trump

Rod Rosenstein denies voicing plot to remove Trump

The U.S. official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election a year ago suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.

"The New York Times' story is inaccurate and factually incorrect", Rosenstein said in an on-the-record statement. But let me be clear about this: "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25thAmendment".

The New York Times writes that Rosenstein shared these plans with "other Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials", all of whom relayed their accounts to the paper anonymously.

As he got a close-up view of Trump's interviews with prospective replacements for Comey and was attacked for his role in the firing, the Times said, "Rosenstein appeared conflicted, regretful and emotional, according to people who spoke with him at the time".

Rosenstein shot down the story in a statement.

One source who was in the meeting confirmed that Rosenstein did make a remark about recording Trump with the use of a wire. He was apparently disturbed that his memo criticizing Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation had been cited as cause in Trump's sacking of the then-FBI director, and made the suggestion amid the "turmoil" that followed the termination.

During a May 12 meeting with McCabe, Rosenstein reportedly expressed regret concerning his decision to draft the memo used to justify Comey's firing.

Rod Rosenstein
Image Rod Rosenstein denied the New York Times' allegations

Multiple officials, who could only speak on the condition of anonymity, said that Rosenstein's comments were documented in memos written by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

None of his proposals appear to have been acted upon, according to the Times, but the report will nearly certainly increase Trump's ire at the deputy attorney general - and potentially put his job in jeopardy.

Rosenstein denied the report in a statement to the Times.

On Friday, Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump, Jr., tweeted the Times' story and said: "Shocked!" Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer for McCabe, told the Times his client "has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos".

'"A set of those memos remained at the F.B.I.at the time of his departure in late January 2018", the attorney noted.

A third person familiar with the discussions said McCabe had privately asserted previously that Rosenstein suggested invoking the 25th amendment and the idea of a senior law enforcement officials wearing a wire while talking to Trump.

CNN reports that those McCabe memos have been given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the probe into Russian election meddling.

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