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Rod Rosenstein reportedly weighed the 25th Amendment, recording Trump

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Rod Rosenstein
Rod Rosenstein.
Mark
Wilson/Getty Images


  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed using
    the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power,
    and wearing a wire to record his conversations with Trump, The
    New York Times reported Friday.
  • Rosenstein reportedly first raised these ideas in the
    spring of 2017 after Trump revealed classified intelligence to
    Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting and fired FBI
    Director James Comey.
  • In a statement to the Times, Rosenstein fully denied
    ever having considered an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment
    or record Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed using the
25th Amendment to remove
President Donald Trump and wearing a wire to secretly record him,
The New York Times reported
Friday.

Rosenstein first raised the question of the 25th amendment and
considered wearing a wire in the spring of 2017, The Times said,
citing sources in the Department of Justice and FBI who were
present in conversations with Rosenstein or were briefed on memos
that former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote about Rosenstein.

While Rosenstein himself does not have the authority to invoke
the 25th amendment — a power belonging only to Cabinet
officials
— he reportedly planned to convince Attorney
General Jeff Sessions and White House chief of staff John Kelly,
who are members of the Cabinet, to lead an effort to remove Trump
from office.

In spring 2017, Trump revealed classified intelligence to Russian
officials in the Oval Office, and fired FBI Director James Comey
following interactions in which Comey refused to pledge his
loyalty to the president and declined to drop an investigation
into campaign official Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to
lying to the FBI.

In justifying firing Comey, Trump cited a memo Rosenstein wrote
that criticized Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email
investigation, reportedly leading Rosenstein to believe Trump had
“used” him.

In a statement to The Times, Rosenstein thoroughly denied ever
discussing plans for removing Trump, or considering wearing a
wire.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually
incorrect,” he said. “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. But let
me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the
president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

Rosenstein is a frequent target for Trump’s frustration with the
Russia investigation


Trump Rosenstein
President
Donald Trump seems to developed a more positive view of Deputy
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Kevin
Lamarque/Reuters


Rosenstein and Sessions have been frequent targets of Trump’s ire
since the special counsel Robert Mueller was first tapped to
oversee the FBI’s Russia investigation last May.

Mueller is tasked with probing Russia’s interference in the 2016
election and whether members of Trump’s campaign colluded with
Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. Mueller is also building an
obstruction-of-justice case against the president that stems from
his decision to oust Comey last year.

Rosenstein has been overseeing the probe since Sessions had to
recuse himself after it emerged that he failed to disclose
meetings he had with Sergei Kislyak, then Russia’s ambassador to
the US, during the 2016 campaign.

Trump often rails against Rosenstein, Sessions, and the Justice
Department at large, according to various media reports. At one
point, he is said to have wondered why “my guys” at the “Trump
Justice Department” weren’t doing more to shield him from
Mueller.

His anger toward Rosenstein ratcheted up another notch in April,
after it emerged that Rosenstein greenlit an FBI raid on the
property of Michael Cohen, then Trump’s longtime lawyer.

Cohen has since pleaded guilty to eight counts related to tax
evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. He is now
cooperating with prosecutors at the Southern District of New York
as well as Mueller’s team.

Following the Cohen raid, Trump privately began wondering whether
he should fire Rosenstein, The New York Times reported.

“He takes the Russia stuff as a political hit job,” the news website Axios quoted
a source close to Trump as saying. The Cohen raid “was a personal
affront” and “the red line,” this person added.

Some of Trump’s legal advisers have also argued that they have a
strong case to support Rosenstein’s firing,
CNN reported
.

According to the report, they believe they can prove that
Rosenstein has overstepped his authority and that he is
conflicted because he is also a witness in the Russia
investigation, given that he recommended Trump fire Comey last
year.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on The Times’ report Friday.

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