Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein dismissed a New York Times article as “inaccurate and factually incorrect” for claiming that in May 2017 he suggested recording President Donald Trump and brought up the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to remove the commander in chief.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” Rosenstein 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.”
A Justice Department spokesperson provided the newspaper with a statement from an unnamed official who was present at the meeting where Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire. The official said that Rosenstein made the remark but did so in jest.
The New York Times cites unnamed sources who it purports were briefed on either the substance of Rosenstein’s conversations or notes taken by the officials involved, including Andrew McCabe, who was the deputy director of the FBI at the time of the alleged events.
The memos are not available to the public and were leaked to the New York Times. McCabe’s spokeswoman, Melissa Schwartz, wrote on Twitter that her client was not the source of the leak.
“Let me be 100% clear: no one associated with Andrew McCabe or his team shared, read, described, whispered or blinked in Morse Code any part of his memos with any reporter,” Schwartz said.
Rosenstein oversees the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of alleged coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the probe, handing the reins to Rosenstein.
Trump has repeatedly slammed the Mueller probe as a “hoax” and a “witch hunt” because of the investigation’s questionable premise. Mueller has not produced any evidence or indictments related to coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Prominent Democrats, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, expressed concern that the allegations against Rosenstein could serve as pretext to fire him.
“This New York Times report must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Schumer wrote on Twitter on Sept. 21.
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan demanded that Rosenstein release McCabe’s memo to corroborate his denial.
“Mr. Rosenstein, give Congress the McCabe memos that we asked for in July and all the other documents we’ve requested so we can all judge for ourselves,” Jordan wrote on Twitter.
McCabe was fired from the FBI for authorizing a self-serving leak and lying about it to investigators. Republican Rep. Mark Meadows noted that McCabe is under investigation for lying to the bureau and that “his words and memos should be viewed with extreme skepticism.”
“But if this story is true, it underscores a gravely troubling culture at FBI/DOJ and the need for FULL transparency. Declassify everything. Let Americans judge,” Meadows wrote on Twitter.
The Epoch Times did not independently verify the claims in the New York Times report.