A New York Times report finding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed using the 25th Amendment to oust President Donald Trump and suggested secretly recording interactions in the White House brought tensions in Washington, D.C., to a boil Friday as observers on all sides suspected the news might prompt the president to fire the Justice Department appointee.
One of Donald Trump's top justice officials has denied discussing how to remove the USA president from power by declaring him unfit for office.
The report also noted that Rosenstein discussed recruiting cabinet members to remove Trump from office by invoking the 25th Amendment.
Later he alluded to his quarrels with personnel at the Justice Department, telling a packed rally for Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Hawley, "Just look at what is being exposed in our Justice Department". 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.
"You've seen what happened in the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice". One of the career civil servants was Scott Schools, who would later go on to sign off on the firing of McCabe, the official said.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Times story "must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt goal of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the special counsel's investigation".
At one point in the May 16 discussions, another senior Justice Department official remarked that it was insane that they were engaged in such conversations at all.
"This New York Times report must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt goal of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel's investigation", Schumer wrote.
The White House, as of Friday evening, had not commented specifically on the story. It all depends on whether you believe sources who talked to people who were in the room when Rod Rosenstein reportedly entertained notions of secretly taping the president or organising a constitutional manoeuvre to remove Mr Trump from office.
Image Rod Rosenstein denied the New York Times' allegations
The newspaper also said that someone who was present at the meeting denied the 25th amendment had ever come up. Attorney General Jeff Sessions picked him to supervise the Russian Federation medaling investigation after recusing himself, thereby infuriating President Trump. Rosenstein was then asked in the meeting if he was serious, and he said yes, but he did not mean for the wire comment to be taken seriously as a tactic to investigate the president, the person said.
The calls for Rosenstein's firing appeared to increase at the same time special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has picked up speed and took out several in the president's circle with indictments, guilty pleas or cooperation agreements.
The Times story contained a suggestion Rosenstein had been speaking sarcastically when he suggested wearing a wire.
"But let me be clear about this", Rosenstein's statement continued.
"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", he said.
Speculation that Trump might fire Rosenstein, as a way to neutralise Mueller, increased to fever pitch.
"Rod rosenstein shld have been fired long ago for being part of the "resistance" and not providing documents to congress in order to save his corrupt pals", Pirro tweeted, mentioning the document requests made by conservative House members of Rosenstein.
The May 2017 meeting was one of two attended by Rosenstein and McCabe, sources said. Now does it sound like the Opt-Ed by the anonymous person from the White House wrote?