Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acknowledged he discussed with the FBI of wearing a wire when talking to President Trump but insisted the comment was in jest amid tumultuous times at the Justice Department.
His acknowledgment is contained in a series of emails exchanged in 2018 in response to a New York Times story. The September 2018 story was apparently sourced to fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a fierce enemy of the president’s and now Democratic Party backer.
The emails were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by Judicial Watch, a conservative investigative non-profit.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the emails stand as more evidence that the FBI mounted a coup to try to bring down Mr. Trump.
“It is remarkable that Judicial Watch has done more to investigate the DOJ/FBI’s discussions about overthrowing President Trump than the DOJ or Congress,” Mr. Fitton said on Wednesday. “These documents essentially confirm the coup discussions about wearing a wire when speaking with President Trump and plans to remove him under the 25th Amendment.”
After Mr. Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey in May 2017, the Justice Department became a hotbed of intrigue. Mr. Rosenstein and successor McCabe apparently talked frequently about a plan of action that culminated in the deputy AG naming special counsel Robert Mueller.
Meanwhile, Mr. McCabe opened a counter-intelligence investigation targeting the president himself as a possible Russian agent.
Mr. Mueller’s March 2019 report cleared Mr. Trump of involvement in any Russian election conspiracy. There was no evidence offered that Mr. Trump was a Russian agent.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Mr. McCabe in March 2018 for allegedly lying to investigators in another probe dealing with the Hillary Clinton email saga.
It was in the post-Comey firing intensity that Mr. Rosenstein said he talked of wearing a wire in jest.
The New York Times conveyed to Justice public affairs that Mr. Rosenstein also spoke of invoking the 25th Amendment, which sets a process for removing an incapacitated president.
The information, again, appears to have come from Mr. McCabe who had been out of office several months and would write an anti-Trump memoir.
Mr. McCabe also told The Times that Mr. Rosenstein wanted to reach out to the fired Mr. Comey to get recommendations on a special counsel.
Mr. Rosenstein, who resigned in April, ended up issuing a statement:
“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.”