Deputy attorney general plotted to oust Trump

Donald Trump

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording President Donald Trump previous year as law enforcement agencies grew increasingly unnerved about chaos in the White House, according to people familiar with the exchange.

But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Rosenstein instead spent part of the day in scheduled meetings, including "extended" conversation with Trump about recent news stories.

The 25th Amendment stipulates that if the vice president and a majority of cabinet officials declared to Congress that the president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office", the vice president assumes those powers and duties as acting president.

On Monday, the president ordered the Justice Department to declassify significant materials from the Russian Federation investigation, a move that threatened another showdown with federal law enforcement officials resistant to publicizing information from an ongoing probe. The newspaper's sources also included people who were briefed on memos written by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Rosenstein's friends, NBC reports, said the controversial man, whom Republicans want to impeach for a purported conflict of interest in the probe of Russian/Trump campaign collusion in the 2016 election, was just "joking".

The Justice Department, for instance, released an email from one attendee who said Rosenstein's "statement was sarcastic and was never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president".

Hannity, who as of the spring, talked with Trump frequently by phone, addressed remarks directly to the president, saying Rosenstein should be fired "under zero circumstances".

America's second most senior law official said the allegation was "inaccurate and factually incorrect".

Rod Rosenstein
Image Rod Rosenstein denied the New York Times' allegations

"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". "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment".

Fox News' Gregg Jarrett slammed the revelations in a scathing report just hours after the Times published the article, saying the DOJ official's "attempted coup" can not go unpunished.

"I've told that to my senior colleagues, I've told it to junior folks at the Central Intelligence Agency, and the State Department; we need everyone who's engaged in helping achieve President Trump's mission", he said.

Despite unrelenting criticism from the White House on the course of the investigation into Russia's election interference, Rosenstein has offered unqualified support for Mueller. President Trump fires Mr Comey, and Andrew McCabe becomes acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The White House initially held up that memo as justification for Comey's firing, though Trump himself has said he was thinking about "this Russian Federation thing" when he made the move.

Image copyright Getty ImagesImage caption From left: Mr Rosenstein, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and Mr McCabe Who's telling the truth?

A Justice Department official who met frequently with both McCabe and Rosenstein said that in the months that followed, Rosenstein never broached either subject - the 25th Amendment or a possible wiretap involving the president.

The news was first reported by the New York Times. Another Republican close to the White House said in an interview that the communications director, Bill Shine, wanted to gather more information before taking an aggressive stance on Rosenstein. The Times also said Rosenstein raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump as unfit for office.

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