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Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly taping Trump

Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly taping Trump

Washington (CNN)In the days after FBI Director James Comey’s May 2017 firing, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a “wire” to record conversations with President Donald Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office, according to sources familiar with memos authored by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe documenting the discussions.
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The extraordinary allegations, depicting a panic-stricken No. 2 official at the Justice Department who has been a target of the President in the past, immediately raised questions about Rosenstein’s future and how Trump would react. The revelations prompted Rosenstein to take the remarkable step of denying the report in two separate statements.
The story was first reported by The New York Times.
CNN has not reviewed the McCabe memos, but they have been turned over to special counsel Robert Mueller, according to sources familiar with the matter. Rosenstein oversees Mueller’s investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and recently secured the cooperation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
Rosenstein issued two rare statements himself forcefully denying the Times’ report — the broad strokes of which were eventually widely reported by other outlets.
“The New York Times’s story is 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,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
While none of Rosenstein’s proposals came to fruition, according to the Times report, the remarkable details of the memos — whether a wholly accurate reflection of all that transpired or not — could further imperil Rosenstein’s delicate standing in Trump’s eyes.
Two sources familiar with the matter say Rosenstein was at the White House Friday evening for about a half hour, where he consulted with top aides and told to issue a firmer denial. The sources would not specify who the aides were.
Later he issued a second statement: “I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”
The President sought advice on whether he should fire Rosenstein, and some of those in his orbit tried to sway him not to make any decision Friday night, The Washington Post reported. During those discussions, the President relayed that he did not trust Rosenstein or McCabe, according to the Post.