- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A former FBI attorney told lawmakers that two bureau officials believed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was serious when discussed secretly recording President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year, Fox News reported Tuesday.

James A. Baker, who once the bureau’s top lawyer, told congressional investigators last week that ex-FBI acting Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI attorney Lisa Page came to him and detailed a meeting where Mr. Rosenstein reportedly made the comments. The meeting occurred in May 2017 after Mr. Trump fired ex-FBI Director James Comey, the report said.

Mr. Baker told lawmakers he did not attend the meeting, but he took their report seriously, Fox News said. He also said he suspected Mr. Rosenstein was coordinating with two people in the Trump administration to oust the president via the 25th Amendment, according to the news outlet.

Mr. Baker testified last week in a closed-door deposition before two House committees investigating decisions made by the Department of Justice and the FBI surrounding the 2016 presidential election.

The testimony differs from other accounts of Mr. Rosenstein’s comments, which were first reported last month by The New York Times. Mr. Rosenstein has denied that he ever made the statements, calling the New York Times’ story “absolutely false.” A Justice Department official said the wiretapping comment was made in jest.

The Fox News’ report comes just one day after Mr. Rosenstein and Mr. Trump spoke for about 45 minutes on their way to a law enforcement conference in Orlando, Florida. Mr. Trump described their talk as “great,” saying he has no plans to fire Mr. Rosenstein, who heads special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

But the story could trigger some tough questions from Republican lawmakers, who are expecting to question Mr. Rosenstein Thursday. The deputy attorney general is set to discuss The New York Times story before the House Judiciary and Government Oversight and Reform committees in a closed-door, transcribed hearing.

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