Rosenstein rips NYT for ‘inaccurate’ story on Trump recordings

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinGOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad GOP group urges Republicans to speak out on obstruction claims against Trump in new ad Judiciary Democrats announce series of hearings on Mueller report MORE is challenging a bombshell story in The New York Times alleging that he discussed secretly recording President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' 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 ComeyFive memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House Five memorable moments from Sarah Sanders at the White House Under Trump, our democracy is for sale 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 McCabeMcCabe says it's 'absolutely' time to launch impeachment inquiry into Trump McCabe says it's 'absolutely' time to launch impeachment inquiry into Trump Feds gone wild: DOJ's stunning inability to prosecute its own bad actors 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 SessionsSarah Sanders to leave White House Sarah Sanders to leave White House Barr compares his return to DOJ to D-Day invasion MORE’s recusal last year.

Rosenstein appointed Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerKamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE as special counsel to spearhead the investigation in May of last year after Trump fired Comey.