Rod Rosenstein Denies Report He Proposed Secretly Taping Donald Trump & Using 25th Amendment To Remove Him
The New York Times reported Friday that Rosenstein suggested this in the spring of 2017, shortly after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. Rosenstein allegedly said he was prepared to wear a wire and hoped to convince White House officials like his superior Jeff Sessions and Chief of Staff John Kelly to use the 25th Amendment as an alternative to impeachment. This amendment states that if the president is incapable of carrying out his duties due to mental impairment or for any other reason, he can be removed from office and replaced by the vice president on an interim basis. However, this is a complicated process that requires a two-thirds majority vote in Congress.
Rosenstein disputed the TImes’ latest report on him.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” the Justice Department’s No.2 official said in a statement. “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 also cited a spokeswoman from the Justice Department who claimed an anonymous source said Rosenstein — who was reportedly remorseful and conflicted for his role in Comey’s firing — only suggested wearing a wire to tape Trump in a sarcastic way.
Trump recently assailed the FBI and other federal law enforcement authorities again, saying he regretted not having dismissed Comey sooner. The president famously demanded that the former FBI director be unwaveringly loyal to him, and asked Comey to stop investigating his first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Amid reports at the time that Rosenstein was threatening to resign, some lawmakers decided to call out the deputy attorney general.
“You wrote a memo you knew would be used to perpetuate a lie,” Democratic Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy tweeted in May 2017. “You own this debacle.”
Threatening to quit is meaningless, Mr. Rosenstein. You wrote a memo you knew would be used to perpetuate a lie. You own this debacle.
— Chris Murphy (@ChrisMurphyCT) May 11, 2017
Last month, two Republican lawmakers — House Intelligence Committee Chairman and California Rep. Devin Nunes and Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers were caught on tape at fundraising event saying that the GOP may attempt to impeach Rosenstein after the Senate confirms Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.