Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein denies that he proposed secretly taping Trump

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The report refers to a September 21 New York Times article suggesting Rosenstein discussed wearing a wire to record Trump and volunteered to recruit cabinet officials to potentially remove the Republican from office.

In a 2016 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, Francisco took aim at James Comey, then the FBI director, accusing Comey of acting in political interests by watering down an investigation into Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

After reportedly going to the White House on Friday, Rosenstein issued a second carefully worded statement, saying he "never pursued or authorized recording the president and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the president is absolutely false".

Rosenstein, who called the report "inaccurate and factually incorrect", also allegedly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

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.

One of the people briefed on the conversation in question, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the confidential nature of the interaction, said it occurred during a moment of frustration between McCabe and Rosenstein.

The revelation that the No. 2 Justice Department official had even broached those ideas, sarcastically or not, creates greater uncertainty for Rosenstein's job status at a time when Trump has railed against law enforcement leadership as biased against him.

This official and a source who was in the room characterized Rosenstein's remark as sarcastic. But let me be clear about this: "Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment", he said.

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.

Mr McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said his client "has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos".

"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", she wrote.

But the president lashed out against what he perceives as anti-Trump bias in the Justice Department and cited the firings he already has orchestrated. The New York Times story could be the ominous crack that presages a plunge into the cold abyss. The deputy attorney general oversees special counsel Robert Mueller III's investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and whether any Trump associates conspired in those efforts.

The episode is the first known instance of a named senior administration official weighing the 25th Amendment.

Most of the key discussions took place on May 16 - at a time of high stress and concern within the upper echelons of the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

At that point, Rosenstein said to McCabe something to the effect of, "What do you want, you want me to wear a wire?" according to the person.

"The President, the White House Counsel, and the President's personal lawyers nevertheless seek access to this material for the corrupt objective of discrediting the Special Counsel", Schiff said.

During Francisco's confirmation hearings previous year, the Senate Judiciary Committee's top Democrat, Dianne Feinstein, mentioned his expressed support for Trump's travel ban and urged him in a letter to "publicly commit to refuse any order or request - whether express or implied - to interfere in the Special Counsel's investigation".