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- Democratic leadership is warning the president not to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following a bombshell New York Times report on Friday.
- According to The Times, Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to secretly record the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. He denied the report.
- “This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.
Democratic leadership is warning the president not to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein following a Friday New York Times report that Rosenstein had discussed wearing a wire to secretly record the president and using the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
“This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Friday, shortly after the story’s publication.
Immediately following the story’s publication, some of Trump’s favorite far-right influencers, including Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro, called for Rosenstein’s immediate firing. Other Republicans, including lawmakers in Washington, urged caution and discouraged the president from taking the report seriously.
“When it comes to President @realDonaldTrump….. BEWARE of anything coming out of the @nytimes,” Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham tweeted.
Trump has regularly targeted both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions since the special counsel Robert Mueller was first tapped last May to oversee the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and the Trump campaign, as well as possible obstruction of justice committed by the president when he fired FBI Director James Comey last year.
In justifying firing Comey, Trump cited a memo Rosenstein wrote that criticized Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation – a move that reportedly made Rosenstein believe Trump had “used” him.
Democrats have for months warned Trump against firing Rosenstein, and have developed a contingency plan to protect the Russia investigation should the president do so, which would include calling for obstruction of justice hearings and a special congressional committee to replace the special counsel investigation.
Rosenstein first raised the question of the 25th amendment and considered wearing a wire in the spring of 2017, The Times said, citing sources in the Department of Justice and FBI who were present in conversations with Rosenstein or were briefed on memos that former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe wrote about Rosenstein.
But the Washington Post later reported that Rosenstein’s comment about wearing a wire was made sarcastically, after McCabe pushed for the DOJ to investigate Trump.
Rosenstein issued a broad denial of the Times’ reporting, calling the story “inaccurate and factually incorrect,” and said in a statement to the Times that, based on his “personal dealings” with the president, there is no basis to remove him from office.
Rosenstein also claimed that the anonymous sources cited in the story are motivated by anti-DOJ sentiment and their own “personal agenda.”
Sonam Sheth and Grace Panetta contributed to this report.