Rosenstein: 'I never pursued' trying to record Trump

Rosenstein: 'I never pursued' trying to record Trump
© Greg Nash

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinMueller’s real challenge Graham vows to push Trump’s AG pick through Judiciary Committee House GOP set to grill Comey MORE issued his second denial on Friday of a New York Times report stating that he proposed secretly taping conversations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpActivists highlight Trump ties to foreign autocrats in hotel light display Jose Canseco pitches Trump for chief of staff: ‘Worried about you looking more like a Twinkie everyday’ Dershowitz: Mueller's report will contain 'sins' but no 'impeachable offense' MORE and discussed the possibility of Trump administration officials invoking the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.

“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,” he said in a statement.

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“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 an initial statement earlier Friday. "But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” 

Other media outlets confirmed Friday that Rosenstein made the comments, though unnamed sources said Rosenstein did so in jest.

The allegations are said to have been laid out in contemporaneous memos written by then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe Hill's Morning Report — Takeaways from the battle royal in the Oval Office Mueller’s real challenge Mueller's findings don't matter MORE, who was fired by the Justice Department earlier this year amid an internal leak probe.

According to the Times, Rosenstein made the remarks last year to McCabe, who then detailed the Justice Department official's comments in memos, which CNN reports have been turned over to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE.

The House Judiciary Committee said Friday that it intends to subpoena McCabe’s memos

The bombshell report comes amid an already tense relationship between Trump and his No. 2 law enforcement official.

Rosenstein is overseeing Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election, and possible obstruction of justice on the part of Trump.

Trump has called the probe a “witch hunt” and has reportedly expressed a desire to fire Mueller on several occasions.

Trump, speaking at a campaign rally in Missouri on Friday, vowed to get rid of the "stench" at the FBI and the Department of Justice, an apparent reference to the revelations published in the Times. 

"Look what's being exposed at the Department of Justice and the FBI," Trump said. "You have some real bad ones. You see what's happening at the FBI — they’re all gone, they’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too." 

Democrats on Friday were quick to defend 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," Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSenators prepare for possibility of Christmas in Washington during a shutdown Mania at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Trump, Democratic leaders go toe-to-toe at White House MORE (D-N.Y.) 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."

— Updated 9:08 p.m.