Deputy Attorney General suggested secretly taping Trump

Geneva Stokes
September 25, 2018

Hours after the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested a year ago secretly recording Trump at the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, Trump told a packed rally, "Just look at what is being exposed in our Justice Department".

Rosenstein has been a frequent punching bag for Trump supporters for appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017 to take over a federal probe of suspected Russian meddling in the USA election and potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign.

The interactions lay bare the conflicts that roiled the FBI and Justice Department early in the Trump administration after Rosenstein, just weeks into his job, wrote a memo critical of Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email server investigation that the White House used as justification for firing the FBI director.

Rosenstein, who called the report "inaccurate and factually incorrect", also allegedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Rosenstein, the country's 37th deputy USA attorney general, graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1986, according to his official biography on the Department of Justice website. The newspaper's sources also included people who were briefed on memos written by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

None of Rosenstein's proposals were enacted, and the Times said it is unclear how determined he was about them. One person who was present at the time said Rosenstein was just being sarcastic. "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment". But the reports add fuel to Trump's longstanding claims that his law enforcement agencies are biased against him and determined to undermine his presidency.

McCabe has no knowledge of how the memos were made available, said his lawyer Michael Bromwich. Mr Rosenstein has been on thin ice with the president for so long his feet probably have frostbite.

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Despite unrelenting criticism from the White House on the course of the investigation into Russia's election interference, Rosenstein has offered unqualified support for Mueller.

The Times report is said to have pushed Trump to weigh firing Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 United States election.

The caveat? Both are Fox News hosts adored by Trump - Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.

Rosenstein initiated discussions about the U.S. Constitution's 25th Amendment, the Times and Post reported.

News organizations reported differing accounts Monday morning, including that Rosenstein resigned, that he was sacked, and that he was leaving the administration. Attorney General Jeff Sessions picked him to supervise the Russian Federation medaling investigation after recusing himself, thereby infuriating President Trump. President Trump fires Mr Comey, and Andrew McCabe becomes acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The announcement, in a pair of tweets, represented a highly unusual walk-back for a president who has pressed for the release of classified information that he believes will expose "really bad things" at the FBI and discredit special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign.

The source familiar with the matter, who quoted Rosenstein responding to McCabe, also points out that Lisa Page took more detailed notes in the meeting and apparently does not mention that the 25th Amendment came up.

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