Sources familiar with the memos of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe tell ABC News that, according to those memos, during a conversation in May 2017 between McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Rosenstein suggested that McCabe or others wear a wire when speaking with President Donald Trump.
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Additionally, sources tell ABC News according to the memos – Rosenstein told McCabe he could recruit members of the president’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump from office for being unfit. Rosenstein believed he would be able to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to sign on, according to the sources.
One source who was in the meeting confirmed that Rosenstein did make a remark about recording Trump with the use of a wire. But the source insists: “The statement was sarcastic and was never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president.”
The news was first reported by the New York Times.
Rosenstein pushed back on the New York Times' report.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. 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.”
In response to the story, McCabe’s attorney’s issued the following statement to ABC News: "Andrew McCabe drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high-level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions. When he was interviewed by the Special Counsel more than a year ago, he gave all of his memos – classified and unclassified – to the Special Counsel's office. A set of those memos remained at the FBI at the time of his departure in late January 2018. He has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos."
In May of 2017, after the firing of then-FBI director James Comey, ABC News reported that Rosenstein was so upset with the White House for pinning Comey’s dismissal on him that he was on the verge of resigning.
Rosenstein remained on the job and a week later assigned Robert Mueller as special counsel to "oversee the previously-confirmed FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe early last year.
In the months since Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein has been responsible for overseeing the Russia probe, often holding press conferences to announce indictments brought by Mueller’s team of prosecutors. Rosenstein’s leading role in the Russia probe came as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal from all matters related to the presidential campaign to avoid conflicts of interest.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans have targeted Rosenstein in their criticism of the Justice Department’s handling of the Russia probe. In July, 11 House Republicans introduced articles of impeachment against Rosenstein and accused the Justice Department of hiding investigative information from Congress, abusing the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act, and failing to comply with subpoenas.
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