Published: Mon, September 24, 2018
Worldwide | By Victor Meyer

Trump wants to rid Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation of 'lingering stench'

Trump wants to rid Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation of 'lingering stench'

US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosentein past year discussed the possibility of secretly reporting US president Donald Trump, and also talked about getting members of Trump's cabinet to invoke the Constitution to declare him unfit to remain as president, The New York Times reported Friday.

Mr Rosenstein initiated discussions about the US Constitution's 25th Amendment, the Times and Post reported.

Despite efforts to downplay the seriousness of Rosenstein's private comments, it is nearly inevitable that Trump will view this as an opportunity to fire the deputy attorney general and replace him with a political loyalist.

As deputy attorney general, Rosenstein oversees Mueller's work and has made two public announcements of indictments brought by the special counsel - one against Russians accused of hacking into Democratic email accounts, the other against Russians accused of running a social media troll farm to sway public opinion. "This doesn't sound like words that would come out of his mouth, especially so early in his tenure at the Department of Justice". "Prior to this, I was one of the people telling Trump he should not be removed..." You have some real bad ones.

"There's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that too", Trump finished.

Shortly after The Times report went live, The Washington Post reported that Rosenstein's comments on secretly recording the president may have been said in jest.

At one point in the May 16 discussions, another senior Justice Department official remarked that it was insane that they were engaged in such conversations at all.

Rosenstein says the story is "inaccurate and factually incorrect".

The White House, as of Friday evening, had not commented specifically on the story.

Trump says the investigation is a "witch hunt" and has frequently targeted Rosenstein.

Rod Rosenstein
Image Rod Rosenstein denied the New York Times' allegations

17 May 2017 - Mr Rosenstein appoints Robert Mueller as special counsel, tasked with overseeing the Russian Federation investigation. In this meeting, Rosenstein again raised the idea of putting a wire on someone to record Trump, the sources said.

"They're hoping he gets mad, that he gets sick and exhausted of it and that they can turn this politically into their version of a Friday Night Massacre", Hannity said Friday, adding that the "deep state is crumbling from within".

A source who heard Rosenstein's remarks tells CNN that the deputy attorney general was being sarcastic.

Win or lose, Trump seemed determined to use the Rosenstein report as both provocation and justification for cleaning house at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

"But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment", Rosenstein said.

"Rod Rosenstein must be fired today", Fox News host Laura Ingrahm wrote on Twitter.

Donald Trump has spent a lot of time disparaging "fake news" reports from the "failing" New York Times largely based on anonymous sources. The meetings in question happened during a particularly stressful time: a week after Comey was sacked and the day before Rosenstein named Mueller as special counsel. "Now, I think there are grounds to fire Rosenstein, and put someone else in there, with minimal, if any, political fallout for Trump".

A Justice Department official who met frequently with both McCabe and Rosenstein said that in the months that followed, Rosenstein never broached either subject - the 25th Amendment or a possible wiretap involving the president.

Rosenstein was rankled by the revelation that Comey had kept memos about his interactions with the president; McCabe wanted a more aggressive approach toward the White House, the person said.

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