Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE is challenging a bombshell story in The New York Times alleging that he discussed secretly recording President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE last year, calling it “inaccurate” and “factually incorrect.”
Rosenstein in a statement released by the Justice Department (DOJ) also said that there was “no basis” to invoke the 25th Amendment, after the Times reported that he proposed recruiting various Cabinet officials to take such a step in order to remove Trump from office over his unfitness.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein said. “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. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
The Times, citing anonymous sources, reported Friday afternoon that Rosenstein made the comments in discussions with Justice Department and FBI officials in spring 2017, shortly after Trump fired James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGiuliani told investigators it was OK to 'throw a fake' during campaign DOJ watchdog unable to determine if FBI fed Giuliani information ahead of 2016 election Biden sister has book deal, set to publish in April MORE as FBI director.
The newpaper reported that Rosenstein proposed secretly recording conversations with Trump in the Oval Office and suggested others interviewing to become FBI director wear a wire.
The article does not allege that Rosenstein actually recorded Trump or followed through on his musings about invoking the 25th Amendment.
A DOJ spokeswoman provided the newspaper with a comment from someone said to be present when Rosenstein made the reported comment about wearing a wire, suggesting the remark was made sarcastically.
The White House initially pinned Trump’s decision to fire Comey on a Justice Department memo written by Rosenstein that criticized the then-FBI director for his handling of the Clinton email investigation.
Rosenstein is said to have been rattled by the events and Trump leaning on his memo to fire Comey, fearing he had been taken advantage of in the process.
According to the Times, Rosenstein’s remarks were documented in part in memos written by Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeAndrew McCabe says Nassar case represents 'worst dereliction of duty' he's seen at FBI Capitol Police warning of potential for violence during rally backing rioters: report McCabe says law enforcement should take upcoming right-wing rally 'very seriously' MORE, the former FBI deputy director who was fired by the Justice Department in March.
Trump later indicated that the Russia investigation previously led by Comey had factored into his decision to remove the FBI chief, and that he would have removed Comey “regardless of recommendation” from Rosenstein.
Rosenstein has at times drawn ire from Trump over his handling of the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The No. 2 Justice Department official is overseeing the probe as a result of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE’s recusal last year.
Rosenstein appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE as special counsel to spearhead the investigation in May of last year after Trump fired Comey.