US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denied a New York Times report Friday that he floated the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump as unfit for office and suggested secretly recording the president to expose the chaos in the administration.
President Trump had met with Rosenstein and Sessions to inform them of his plans to relieve Comey of his duties and tasked the former with penning a memo justifying the move. "But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used".
Another source disputed that.
According to the New York Times, in the Spring of 2017, Rosenstein suggested and had discussed with other cabinet members the possibility to force the removal of the President via the 25th Amendment.
The White House has not yet responded to the report.
The Times' account is based on sources who were briefed on the meetings or conversations when Rosenstein was alleged to have made the remarks, as well as sources who were briefed on memos or reports written by FBI officials including then-Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, which allegedly detailed Rosenstein's comments.
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Rosenstein initiated discussions about the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment, the Times and Post reported.
The newspaper said the instances occurred in Spring 2017, while Rosenstein spoke to Justice Department members following the firing of former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey. "He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos".
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. One participant asked whether Mr. Rosenstein was serious, and he replied animatedly that he was.
While the Rosenstein story by the Times sent shockwaves on Friday afternoon, independent journalist Marcy Wheeler anxious that reporting now "gives Trump his excuse to fire" the Deputy Attorney General.
Mr. Rosenstein then raised the idea of wearing a recording device or "wire", as he put it, to secretly tape the president when he visited the White House.
"Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me", Trump tweeted. Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, the authority to fire Mueller rests with Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
"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", the statement continued. He said that based on personal interactions with the president, there is no basis for any 25th Amendment action, the constitutional provision allowing for succession when a president is deemed to be incapacitated.