The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.
Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.
Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. 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.
Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.
! "A Justice Department spokeswoman also provided a statement from a person who was present when Mr. Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire. The person, who would not be named, acknowledged the remark but said Mr. Rosenstein made it sarcastically." https://t.co/A5pe27eeHb— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 21, 2018
If Trump is looking for a pretext to fire Rod Rosenstein, this might be it, sarcastic or not. On the other hand, it came from the “fake news” “failing” New York Times, so why would Trump believe it?
If this gives Trump the excuse to fire Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will impede or even end the Mueller investigation, we could be on the brink of the biggest Constitutional crisis since Watergate. https://t.co/HVzGI20SjE— Max Boot (@MaxBoot) September 21, 2018
UPDATE: Rosenstein has come out with a denial, per the AP.
Also, there is some conjecture that the White House itself might be behind this story. Pretext for Trump to fire? Distraction from Kavanaugh?
Did the NY Times get played (again)???
I reiterate my warning here that the NYT tends to publish what the Trump administration wants leaked and WaPo tends to publish the stuff they don't want leaked.— Hunter (@HunterDK) September 21, 2018
NYT tends to rely heavily (cough) on administration sources. https://t.co/AGQP7RhAuR
Flashbackhttps://t.co/mTfWodCMTO— Julie Millican (@JMillzDC) September 21, 2018
this rosenstein story is a) fucking stupid b) clearly planted by someone in the admin, either to give a pretext to fire him or because of brett kavanaugh, idk. it's from may 2017! why now? c) boring. change the channel marge— libby watson (@libbycwatson) September 21, 2018
Hmmmm….. Senator Graham isn’t buying it.
While McCabe’s memos assert both the recording and 25th amendment conversations occurred at a meeting within days of Comey’s firing, another person at the meeting, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, insisted the recording comment was said in a moment of sarcasm, and that the 25th amendment was not discussed.
That person said the wire comment came in response to McCabe’s own pushing for the Justice Department to open an investigation into the president. To that, Rosenstein responded with what this person described as a sarcastic comment along the lines of, “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?”
That person insisted the statement was never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president.
Another official at the meeting, then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, wrote her own memo of the discussion which does not mention any talk of the 25th amendment, according to a second person who was familiar with her account.
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.
I think the NY Times got taken.
Whoa, THIS below from Andrew McCabe’s spokesperson:
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. https://t.co/7Q0CNTqQPT— Melissa Schwartz (@MSchwartz3) September 21, 2018