Rosenstein reportedly made the comments about taping the president in the wake of Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey. During the time immediately firing the Comey firing, the president revealed confidential intelligence to Russian officials in the Oval Office. Additionally, it was revealed the Trump had asked Comey to pledge a loyalty oath to him and had asked Comey to end an investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.
After Comey’s firing, Rosenstein found himself running the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election. Attorney General Jeff Sessions was not lead on that investigation as he had previously recused himself. Not long after the firing, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller Special Counsel for the Russia probe.
According to The New York Times report, anonymous sources within the Justice Department detailed Rosenstein’s comments. Rosenstein reportedly made the comments in meetings and with Justice Department officials including acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The suggestions were not implemented and it remains unclear how serious Rosenstein was about his ideas.
Rosenstein reportedly told McCabe that it was possible he might be able to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then secretary of homeland security, John Kelly, to initiate an effort among the cabinet to invoke the 25th amendment and remove the president from office.
Rosenstein denied the account published by The New York Times. He responded saying, “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect.” He continued, “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.”