Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein disputed a report which claimed that he had discussed with colleagues the possibility of removing Donald Trump under the 25th Amendment and making secret tapes of the president, according to the Guardian.
Rosenstein was responding to an article in the New York Times which cited anonymous Justice Department sources as claiming that the Deputy Attorney General was angry and frustrated at how he had been made a scapegoat by president Trump to fire former FBI director James Comey. Trump had used a memo written by Rosenstein in which he criticized Comey as a justification of his decision to fire him.
At the time after Comey’s firing when replacements were being sought, Rosenstein is reported to have mentioned wearing a “wire” to record Donald Trump to a colleague, but NYT‘s source said that Rosenstein seemed to have been made the comment in a sarcastic way and might not have meant it in the literal sense.
The report is set to heighten the political tension prevalent in Washington, with Trump armed with another weapon in his claims of the so-called “deep state” out there to get him.
Rosenstein refuted the claims made in the report, calling the story “inaccurate and factually incorrect” while also alleging that the sources behind the story were “advancing their own personal agenda”.
He also denied discussing the need to remove Trump from office under the 25th Amendment with his colleagues.
“But let me be clear about this. Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment.”
Rosensetin, in his statement, blames sources who are “obviously biased against the department,” wording that suggests leaks designed to damage him as he holds out against presidential interference.
— Steve Inskeep (@NPRinskeep) September 21, 2018
Rosenstein discussing a possible Trump impeachment strikes particularly hard for the administration in light of the recent NYT op-ed by an anonymous senior Trump cabinet official, who had also claimed that the top brass in the White House had discussed the possibility of removing Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Rosenstein remains the overall head of the Mueller investigation, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions having recused himself. He is the one who decides the direction Mueller’s investigation takes as well as reviews its budget. Democrats have already defended Rosenstein, saying the report should not be used by Trump and the GOP to fire him.
For Trump’s aides, however, the report is enough evidence that Rosenstein is not impartial.
“Shocked!!! Absolutely Shocked!!! Ohhh, who are we kidding at this point? No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine [Donald Trump],” wrote Donald Trump Jr. on Twitter.