Rosenstein 'Rejects McCabe's Recitation of Events as Inaccurate and Factually Incorrect'
In an explosive interview with CBS, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director, reiterated his claim that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein talked about wearing a “wire” to record conversations with Trump in the days after the president fired FBI Director James Comey. McCabe further claimed that Rosenstein discussed with Justice Department officials a plan to recruit members of President Trump's Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office.
The Justice Department on Thursday firmly denied McCabe's stunning claims, saying Rosenstein did not believe there were any grounds to remove Trump from office via the 25th Amendment.
"The Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe's recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect," the Justice Department said in a statement.
"The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment."
The statement went on to note that the Justice Department's inspector general "found that Mr. McCabe did not tell the truth to federal authorities on multiple occasions, leading to his termination from the FBI."
According to the New York Times, McCabe said in a spring 2017 memo that Rosenstein believed then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly could be recruited in the effort to remove Trump from office.
The New York Times reports that it obtained an excerpt from one of McCabe's contemporaneous memos on his interactions DOJ officials. He wrote "we discussed the president’s capacity and the possibility he could be removed from office under the 25th Amendment." He further noted that Rosenstein examined the issue and decided that a “majority or 8 of the 15 cabinet officials" would be needed to follow through.
McCabe also said Rosenstein suggested that sympathetic Cabinet members who might join their cause included Sessions and Kelly.
Rosenstein has previously denied the reporting on talk of removing Trump and using a hidden wire, while sources told NBC News that he was only joking about secretly recording the president.
Sessions served as attorney general until November 2018 after more than a year of public scoldings from the president for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Kelly went on to be Trump's White House chief of staff and retired at the end of last year.
Fox News' Catherine Herridge noted that Rosenstein's claim that his offer to wear a wire was "sarcastic" is at odds with testimony from former FBI lawyer James Baker and McCabe's assertions.
She said an investigative source told Fox News that McCabe was fired last March for committing three violations of the FBI's ethics code: "lack of candor under oath, lack of candor not under oath, and the improper disclosure of nonpublic information to the media."
That Rosenstein and McCabe is/was at the highest levels of law enforcement in the country and one of them is lying is a problem.
It's going to be up to Senate Republicans to get to the bottom of it because the House oversight committees are now run by Democrats. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said on Twitter he would be demanding answers from McCabe and others.
The president lashed out at McCabe on Twitter, calling him "a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey" and "a disgrace to our country."