Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recently did an interview where he seemed to negate his Senate testimony, reversing himself and admitting that he discussed taping former President Trump with then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Rosenstein spoke with Fox5 in Washington, DC about the discussion over recording Trump but steadfastly denied ever wearing a wire following Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in 2017.
“I had a conversation with Andrew McCabe about an investigation that he was conducting involving the president. And there was a discussion about whether or not the president would be recorded in the course of that investigation. I never intended to wear a wire, and I think that if Mr. McCabe asked me to wear a wire, we would’ve had to reconsider the whole thing. Because you can’t run an investigation and serve as a witness,” Rosenstein stated for the “Siege on Democracy” podcast that was published last month.
McCabe had previously claimed in 2019 that Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire to tape Trump without his knowledge. This came out in a report by The New York Times in 2018. It also alleged that Rosenstein discussed the invocation of the 25th Amendment to be used against Trump and remove him from office for being unfit.
(Source: Fox 5 DC)
When asked at the time if he thought Trump was unfit to hold office, Rosenstein said: “Well, it depends on what you mean by the word ‘fit.’ There was a lot of talk about whether the president should have been removed under the 25th Amendment. I don’t believe that. I mean, I think the president was capable of doing the job. Doesn’t mean I agree with the way he did it.”
Rosenstein denied the report: “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he declared. “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 former deputy attorney general would go on to dispute the report when he testified in front of Congress: “I did not suggest or hint at secretly recording Mr. Trump,” Rosenstein testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “I have never in any way suggested the president should be removed from office under the 25th Amendment.”
Sources reported that Rosenstein was being sarcastic about taping Trump but McCabe adamantly declared that Rosenstein was “absolutely serious.”
“In fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had. I never actually considered taking him up on the offer. I did discuss it with my general counsel and my leadership team back at the FBI after he brought it up the first time,” McCabe recalled.
The Justice Department issued a scathing response to McCabe’s accusations:
“As to the specific portions of this interview provided to the Department of Justice by ’60 Minutes’ in advance, the Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
McCabe was fired from the FBI in 2018 and now works as a CNN contributor. He sued for wrongful termination, “seeking to regain his job and back pay and claiming that Trump was behind a scheme to force him out right before he was set to retire.” A judge has since ruled that the case can proceed.
The Justice Department refused to go after McCabe even after Inspector General Michael Horowitz published a report in 2018 that showcased multiple instances where McCabe “lacked candor” concerning his go-ahead to leak sensitive information to the Wall Street Journal. That information dealt with an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
“For me, one of the fundamental principles that I wanted to follow in the department was not to talk about ongoing investigations, not to disparage people who were not charged by the Department of Justice, and that’s a rule that I followed religiously throughout tenure as the deputy AG and tried to serve as a role model in that respect for the rest of the department — that we just don’t talk about our cases,” Rosenstein concluded.
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