Trump wants to rid Justice Department of ‘lingering stench’

Minnie Murray
September 25, 2018

Hours after the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested past year secretly recording Trump at the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, Trump told a packed rally, "Just look at what is being exposed in our Justice Department".

"This New York Times report must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt objective of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel's investigation", Schumer wrote.

The New York Times reported Friday that Rosenstein floated the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump on grounds that he's unfit for office and suggested secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the administration. Rosenstein also brought up the 25th Amendment, which allows a president to be removed from office when no longer able to discharge duties.

Rosenstein has been a frequent punching bag for Trump supporters for appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller in May 2017 to take over a federal probe of suspected Russian meddling in the USA election and potential coordination between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Unidentified others have been said to discuss it, including an unnamed senior administration official who wrote an Op-Ed for The New York Times.

The reports about Rosenstein created even greater uncertainty about his future at a time when Trump has lambasted Justice Department leadership and publicly humiliated both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But, he added, "there's a lingering stench, and we're going to get rid of that, too".

Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump's firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil.

On Friday, he said, Justice Department officials had warned him that the declassification of documents "may have a perceived negative impact on the Russian Federation probe".

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement that McCabe had drafted memos to "memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions".

"He solicited others to wear wires, including Andrew McCabe, who was later fired as Assistant FBI Director".

As a result, Rosenstein began recruiting Cabinet members to execute on a future 25th Amendment plan and suggesting that Federal Bureau of Investigation officials who were on Trump's short list to replace Comey could make clandestine tapes of their job interviews with Trump.

Donald Trump has spent a lot of time disparaging "fake news" reports from the "failing" New York Times largely based on anonymous sources.

Sessions in March 2017 recused himself from the Russian Federation matter, citing his service on the Trump campaign.

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

Read the full story at Fox News.

Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who is in contact with the president, said that "if the allegation is true, absolutely fire Rosenstein".

However, another source familiar with how the Justice Department officials who attended that later meeting viewed what happened, said their belief was that Rosenstein was being "sarcastic" - noting that there was never any follow-up conversation from Rosenstein or anyone else about it.

Rosenstein has invited the ire of Democrats and Republicans alike. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Rosenstein was speaking sarcastically, and NBC reported likewise.

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