Published: Tue, September 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Rod Rosenstein denies voicing plot to take away Trump

Rod Rosenstein denies voicing plot to take away Trump

The U.S. official who oversees the federal investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 U.S. election suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump a year ago and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke a constitutional amendment to remove him from the White House, the New York Times reported on Friday.

He also suggested that Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Andrew McCabe and other officials who were interviewing to become the next Federal Bureau of Investigation director could also perhaps record Mr Trump, the newspaper reported.

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 USA election.

The 25th Amendment stipulates that if the vice president and a majority of cabinet officials declared to Congress that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office", the vice president assumes those powers and duties as acting president.

He did not directly mention Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

A Justice Department spokeswoman provided a statement from a person who would not be identified and was present when Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire to record Trump, the Times said.

In his initial statement Friday afternoon, Rosenstein pushed back on the New York Times report but did not flatly deny it.

But Trump, speaking at a rally in Springfield, Missouri, once again attacked his Justice Department. He added, "There's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that". The president asked advisers Friday if he should fire Rosenstein, and some of those around Trump sought to sway him not to make any decision Friday night.

McCabe has no knowledge of how the memos were made available, said his lawyer Michael Bromwich. Rosenstein believed he would be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to sign on, according to the sources.

Rod Rosenstein
Image Rod Rosenstein denied the New York Times' allegations

Trump announced on Twitter last month that McGahn would leave the administration this fall, following a bombshell Times article that said McGahn had given over 30 hours of testimony in Mueller's investigation. The New York Times story could be the ominous crack that presages a plunge into the cold abyss.

News organizations reported differing accounts Monday morning, including that Rosenstein resigned, that he was sacked, and that he was leaving the administration.

30 May 2018 - United States media report that Mr McCabe handed over a confidential memo on Mr Comey's firing - which reportedly details his conversation with Mr Rosenstein - to the special counsel.

The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, created a legal mechanism for designating a head of state when the president is disabled or dead.

However, another source familiar with how the Justice Department officials who attended that later meeting viewed what happened, said their belief was that Rosenstein was being "sarcastic" - noting that there was never any follow-up conversation from Rosenstein or anyone else about it.

Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who is in contact with the president, said that "if the allegation is true, absolutely fire Rosenstein".

More broadly, it's the latest revelation that could affect Mueller, who is investigating possible coordination between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign in 2016. Another Republican close to the White House said in an interview that the communications director, Bill Shine, wanted to gather more information before taking an aggressive stance on Rosenstein.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein attend the Second Annual Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service in Policing at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C., September 18, 2018.

GOP threatens Monday vote on Kavanaugh unless accuser testifies
Biden, who chaired the Thomas hearing and is considering running for president, said he regrets the way Hill was treated. Trump spent most of the week unusually restrained and heeding the tone set publicly by counselor Kellyanne Conway.

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