U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office as unfit for duty, according to a report in the New York Times. Rosenstein even proposed surreptitiously recording conversations with the president, the report further alleges.
Rosenstein denies the allegations, which were reportedly told to Times reporters by people who had been briefed about the conversations or about memos from FBI officials documenting them.
“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.”
The 25th Amendment provides a provision for the vice president and members of the cabinet to act to remove a president who is unable to carry out his or her duties. That constitutional provision has never been invoked. Rosenstein reportedly discussed the possibility of working with Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, now White House chief of staff, to carry out the action.
There’s no evidence that Rosenstein ever taped a conversation with Trump or actually discussed invoking the constitutional provision with Sessions or Kelly. One source told the Times that the comments about wearing a wire were merely sarcastic.
Rosenstein is perhaps best known for appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller last spring to investigate Russian tampering with the 2016 election. Commentators on social media quickly speculated on whether the story was deliberately leaked to urge Trump to fire Rosenstein. That backlash has become so vociferous that some Times reporters are taking to Twitter to defend the story.
Anonymous sources leaked that Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment.
Don’t be surprised if the anonymous sources were on Trump’s side to justify his removal of Rosenstein.
Be ready to act if he does.
— Nick Jack Pappas (@Pappiness) September 21, 2018
If you want to question a story without your own information, but based on your emotions, and slander a tremendous current NYT reporter in the process, that’s your right. https://t.co/Fa3Pi0m4De
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) September 21, 2018