Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump and using the 25th Amendment to forcibly remove him from office, the New York Times reported Friday.
The extraordinary report from the Times describes an unprecedented consideration of the invocation of the 25th Amendment, may further jeopardize Rosenstein’s position within the administration, and paints him in a deeply unflattering light even as it further calls into question Trump’s fitness for office.Per the Times, Rosenstein’s suggestions came in the chaotic aftermath of Trump’s May 2017 move to abruptly fire James Comey as FBI director. Rosenstein spoke to other Justice Department and FBI officials about his concerns, some of which were memorialized in contemporaneous memos, sources told the newspaper.
Efforts to declare the president incapable of holding office would have required recruiting members of Trump’s own cabinet to the cause. Rosenstein told Andrew McCabe, then acing FBI director, that he believed he could persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John Kelly to join this effort, the Times reported.
The Times’ sources appeared to be critical of Rosenstein’s performance in his role:
In the end, the idea went nowhere, the officials said. But they called Mr. Rosenstein’s comments an example of how erratically he was behaving while he was taking part in the interviews for a replacement F.B.I. director, considering the appointment of a special counsel and otherwise running the day-to-day operations of the more than 100,000 people at the Justice Department.
In a statement to the newspaper, Rosenstein called the story “inaccurate and factually incorrect.”
“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,” he said. “But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
Now that’s what you call a vote of confidence.
Unfortunately, we can check out any time we like, but we can never leave.