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Rosenstein: 'I never pursued' trying to record Trump

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

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump turns his ire toward Cabinet members Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump's erratic tweets upend stimulus talks; COVID-19 spreads in White House MORE issued his second denial on Friday of a New York Times report stating that he proposed secretly taping conversations with President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida 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 McCabeHillicon Valley: CEOs of Google, Facebook and Twitter to testify before Senate | European Union police agency warns of increase in cybercrime | Twitter to remove posts hoping for Trump's death Graham officially schedules hearing on Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump eager to leave the hospital 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 (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout 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 SchumerChuck SchumerTrump casts doubt on hopes for quick stimulus deal after aides expressed optimism Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein 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.