Rod Rosenstein reportedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment and wearing a wire to record his conversations with Trump

  • Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from power, and wearing a wire to record his conversations with Trump, The New York Times reported Friday.
  • Rosenstein reportedly first raised these ideas in the spring of 2017 after Trump revealed classified intelligence to Russian officials in an Oval Office meeting and fired FBI Director James Comey.
  • In a statement to the Times, Rosenstein fully denied ever having considered an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment or record Trump.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump and wearing a wire to secretly record him, The New York Times reported Friday.

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.

While Rosenstein himself does not have the authority to invoke the 25th amendment — a power belonging only to Cabinet officials — he reportedly planned to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House chief of staff John Kelly, who are members of the Cabinet, to lead an effort to remove Trump from office.

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Rod Rosenstein through the years
Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, October 10, 2006. Rosenstein and Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force, an effort aimed at the detection, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with increased contracting activity for national security programs. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 10: Deputy U.S. Attorney General Paul McNulty, center, speaks during a news conference with Alice Fisher, head of the criminal division of the U.S. Department of Justice, left, and U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, during a news conference in Washington D.C. Tuesday, October 10, 2006. McNulty announced the formation of a National Procurement Fraud Task Force, an effort aimed at the detection, prevention and prosecution of procurement fraud associated with increased contracting activity for national security programs. (Photo by Carol T. Powers/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
SLUG: me/hornsby DATE: August 22, 2006 CREDIT: Ricky Carioti / TWP. United States Federal Courthouse in Greenbelt, Md. Federal prosecutors announce the indictment of former Prince George's County school superintendent Andre Hornsby. United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, center, flanked by Francis Turner, left, of the United States Department of the Treasury and Assistant United States Attorney Michael Pauze announce the 16-count indictment of former Prince George's County Schools Superintendent Andre Hornsby during a press conference at federal court in Greenbelt on Tuesday. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein talks about the sentencing of Thomas Bromwell Sr. and Mary Patricia Bromwell following their appearance in federal court in Baltimore, Maryland, Friday, November 16, 2007. (Photo by Kim Hairston/Baltimore Sun/MCT via Getty Images)
GREENBELT, MD JUNE 30:United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein talked with reporters after the Guilty plea of Prince Georges County Councilwoman Leslie Johnson the U.S. District Court on June 30, 2011 in Greenbelt, MD. To Rosenstein's left is Acting Special Agent in Charge Jeannine A. Hammett of the Internal Revenue Service and to his right is Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Photo by Mark Gail/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 24: Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein, on Friday, October 24, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. Rosenstein said Carl Lackl was scheduled to be a witness to the Larry Haynes murder but was killed when Patrick Byers plotted his murder from his jail cell. (Photo by Michel du Cille/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, swears in to a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, sits during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 7, 2017. The confirmation hearing for Rosenstein began with Republicans and Democrats squaring off over who should lead probes into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and potential contacts between Moscow and Trumps campaign team. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 07: Deputy U.S. Attorney General nominee Rod Rosenstein arrives before the Senate Judiciary Committee for testimony March 7, 2017 in Washington, DC. During the hearing, Democratic senators pressed Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor in an ongoing federal inquiry into Russian influence in the U.S. presidential election. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, arrives to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington March 7, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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In spring 2017, Trump revealed classified intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office, and fired FBI Director James Comey following interactions in which Comey refused to pledge his loyalty to the president and declined to drop an investigation into campaign official Michael Flynn, who later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

In justifying firing Comey, Trump cited a memo Rosenstein wrote that criticized Comey's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, reportedly leading Rosenstein to believe Trump had "used" him.

In a statement to The Times, Rosenstein thoroughly denied ever discussing plans for removing Trump, or considering wearing a wire.

"The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said. "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."

Rosenstein is a frequent target for Trump's frustration with the Russia investigation

Rosenstein and Sessions have been frequent targets of Trump's ire since the special counsel Robert Mueller was first tapped to oversee the FBI's Russia investigation last May.

Mueller is tasked with probing Russia's interference in the 2016 election and whether members of Trump's campaign colluded with Moscow to tilt the race in his favor. Mueller is also building an obstruction-of-justice case against the president that stems from his decision to oust Comey last year.

Rosenstein has been overseeing the probe since Sessions had to recuse himself after it emerged that he failed to disclose meetings he had with Sergey Kislyak, then Russia's ambassador to the US, during the 2016 campaign.

Trump often rails against Rosenstein, Sessions, and the Justice Department at large, according to various media reports. At one point, he is said to have wondered why "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" weren't doing more to shield him from Mueller.

His anger toward Rosenstein ratcheted up another notch in April, after it emerged that Rosenstein greenlit an FBI raid on the property of Michael Cohen, then Trump's longtime lawyer.

Cohen has since pleaded guilty to eight counts related to tax evasion, bank fraud, and campaign finance violations. He is now cooperating with prosecutors at the Southern District of New York as well as Mueller's team.

Following the Cohen raid, Trump privately began wondering whether he should fire Rosenstein, The New York Times reported.

"He takes the Russia stuff as a political hit job," the news website Axios quoted a source close to Trump as saying. The Cohen raid "was a personal affront" and "the red line," this person added.

Some of Trump's legal advisers have also argued that they have a strong case to support Rosenstein's firing, CNN reported.

According to the report, they believe they can prove that Rosenstein has overstepped his authority and that he is conflicted because he is also a witness in the Russia investigation, given that he recommended Trump fire Comey last year.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on The Times' report Friday.

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SEE ALSO: Trump's deputy attorney general reportedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, which lets 14 people remove a sitting president from office

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