Rosenstein rips NYT for ‘inaccurate’ story on Trump recordings

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinGraham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation DOJ won't charge former FBI Deputy Director McCabe Rosenstein says he authorized release of Strzok-Page texts MORE is challenging a bombshell story in The New York Times alleging that he discussed secretly recording President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press 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.”

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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 ComeyA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice DOJ attorney looking into whether CIA withheld info during start of Russia probe: NYT Graham requests interviews with DOJ, FBI officials as part of probe into Russia investigation 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 McCabeA tale of two lies: Stone, McCabe and the danger of a double standard for justice Democrats fear rule of law crumbling under Trump Barr back on the hot seat 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 SessionsAlabama Senate contender hits Sessions in new ad: 'Hillary still ain't in jail' Barr back on the hot seat McCabe: 'I don't think I will ever be free of this president and his maniacal rage' MORE’s recusal last year.

Rosenstein appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan 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 as special counsel to spearhead the investigation in May of last year after Trump fired Comey.