White House insiders reportedly believe former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe’s team planted a story in the press suggesting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is conspiring against the president, according to Politico on Saturday.
McCabe’s colleagues allegedly concocted the ruse to bait President Donald Trump into firing Rosenstein ahead of November’s midterm elections, the report noted. Individuals within the West Wing believe the former FBI director’s team pushed the story to create political consequences for Trump.
McCabe’s spokesman pushed back on any such assertions, according to Politico. The report refers to a Sept. 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.
Rosenstein allegedly made the remarks in meetings with Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials shortly after the May 9, 2017, firing of James Comey as FBI director. The deputy AG took part in Comey’s ouster, writing a letter recommending that he be fired because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Rosenstein, who is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, also reportedly told McCabe he could potentially persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. (RELATED: Trump Must Fire Rod Rosenstein Immediately)
Some people in Trump’s world are supporting Rosenstein and pushing back against a growing fervor brewing from within conservative circles. A senior White House official warned against any dramatic action. The official, who spoke anonymously to Politico, called Rosenstein a “straight shooter” and said his repudiation of TheNYT’s article was believable.
Rosenstein gave a full-throated rejection of the piece and argued that is not appropriate to invoke the 25th Amendment, which stipulates the president can be ousted if he or she is mentally unfit to serve, against Trump.
“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,” he said in a statement. “But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”