UPDATE AT 11:40 A.M. EASTERN
According to the New York Times, which first broke the report of U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein allegedly plotting to have FBI and Justice Department officials secretly spy on President Trump shortly after the inauguration, Rosenstein may be resigning.
News emerged Monday morning that Rosenstein, who put Special Counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the Trump-Russia collusion probe, is considering quitting his job. According to one of the Times’ White House sources, he has already made the decision to step down.
Also uncertain is whether Trump will accept his resignation. He and Rosenstein have been at odds over Mueller, with Rosenstein defending the Special Counsel despite what a convoluted mess the investigation has become.
Read the story below for more background information and to see why Rosenstein’s resignation would be so significant.
A newspaper that has a history of being unfriendly to President Trump says they have just uncovered a plot to secretly record President Trump and try to get him kicked out of the Oval Office.
And they say the guy behind that plot is none other than the one behind the Mueller investigation into alleged Trump-Russia collusion.
According to the New York Times, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who put Special Counsel Robert Mueller in charge of the probe, concocted a plot shortly after Trump’s inauguration aimed at destroying his presidency.
If true, this news is huge. In fact, it’s earth-shattering.
The Times says that, according to several of their anonymous sources, Rosenstein suggested that President Trump be covertly taped so that those recordings could be used to invoke the 25th Amendment. That Amendment exists so that a U.S. President can be removed from office if congressional leaders consider him “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office,” according to Cornell Law School.
Rosenstein, who was already overseeing the Russia investigation at that time, reportedly made the suggestion to FBI and Justice Department officials.
Rosenstein reportedly wanted someone to wear a wire in order to record Trump, and he apparently felt that what Trump would say in private during his presidency would throw his fitness for the Oval Office into doubt.
Now Rosenstein says the Times is printing falsehoods.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he replied. “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,” he concluded.
An unnamed Justice Department source says Rosenstein did make the request to secretly record Trump but that he only said it sarcastically. But multiple other sources say he was clearly serious with his threat and started following up on it.
Multiple sources told ABC News a similar story. Those sources said that the conservative is laid out in a memo written by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who is also mixed up in the Russia investigation. Rosenstein reportedly suggested McCabe wear a wire, too, when talking with the president.
ABC's sources further told them that Rosenstein wanted to recruit members of Trump's own cabinet — namely, then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to join in his plot to get the president quickly ousted.
If true, this could paint the already-shaky Trump-Russia investigation in a very biased light.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N-Y.) was one of the first Democratic leaders to respond to the story, release a statement that read: "This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose 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."