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Dershowitz: Trump's lawyers could force Rosenstein to recuse himself from Mueller probe

Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz says that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden holds massive cash advantage over Trump ahead of Election Day Tax records show Trump maintains a Chinese bank account: NYT Trump plays video of Biden, Harris talking about fracking at Pennsylvania rally MORE could fight in court to force 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 to recuse himself in the special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Dershowitz made the comments in an interview on CNN's "Smerconish" after it was reported by The New York Times that Rosenstein brought up the possibility of recording Trump in the Oval Office last year.

Rosenstein has said that he "never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

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Dershowitz suggested Saturday that "what [Trump] could do very plausibly is have his lawyers go to court and make a motion to recuse Rosenstein from any involvement in any case involving the president."

"Because he has a conflict of interest," said Dershowitz, who is also an opinion contributor for The Hill. "He has two conflicts of interest: First, he wrote the memo ... authorizing the firing of Comey. You can't both investigate obstruction of justice and be part of the obstruction of justice."

"But second, he has a conflict now because the Times reports that his goal is to be 'vindicated,' and the way he can be 'vindicated' is by putting all the blame on President Trump," Dershowitz added in the interview.

Dershowitz's remarks come after the Times reported that Rosenstein both broached the subject of wearing a wire during meetings with Trump and proposed the possibility of removing the president via the 25th Amendment early into his tenure.

The reported discussions came days after Trump fired FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyTrump remarks put pressure on Barr Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals DOJ weakens policy on investigating elections: report MORE.

News of Rosenstein's comments were met with harsh criticism from Trump supporters, including the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr.Don John TrumpTrump Jr. returning to campaign trail after quarantining Trump Jr., UFC star launch anti-socialism bus tour through South Florida Donald Trump Jr. urges hunters to vote for his father MORE, and Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who urged Trump to fire the official.

"Rod Rosenstein must be fired today," Ingraham wrote in a since-deleted tweet. "He needs to go. Today."

Dershowitz advised against firing Rosenstein on Saturday, arguing that the president shouldn't use the report as an excuse to clean house at the Justice Department.

"If he's smart, he'll take advantage of this and not fire … any of these people, not [special counsel Robert] Mueller, not Rosenstein, and not [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions," he said, while urging Congress to hold "hearings" about the attempted "palace coup."

"No president ought to have to tolerate someone in their midst who may have attempted to pull off a palace coup," he said.

Firing the officials, he added, would appear similar to former President Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" ahead of his resignation.

His remarks came after Rosenstein denied to the Times that he ever seriously considered invoking the 25th Amendment against the president. The comments also follow after a Justice Department official characterized Rosenstein's reported statements as being sarcastic in nature.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein said in a statement.

"But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” he added.

— Updated 12:30 p.m.