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Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein 'discussed secretly taping' Donald Trump amid plan to remove him from office

Nick Allen
Rod Rosenstein furiously denied that he had discussed invoking the 25th Amendment, which could be used to remove an unfit president - AP

Donald Trump's own deputy attorney general suggested secretly recording the president and discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from the White House, according to the New York Times.

Rod Rosenstein was said to have broached the idea that the president was unfit for office with senior officials at his own Justice Department and the FBI last year.

Mr Rosenstein reportedly said he believed he might be able to persuade John Kelly, Mr Trump's chief of staff, and Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, to pursue the 25th Amendment, which can be invoked if the president is unable to fulfill his duties.

It requires the support of the Vice President and a majority of the Cabinet.

Mr Rosenstein furiously denied the New York Times report.

President Trump's son Donald Trump Jr hit back at the claims, saying "These guys would do anything in their power to undermine him" Credit: AP

In a statement he said. "The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect.

"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."

The report was expected to spark accusations of a "deep state" conspiracy against the president from his supporters, who believe he is being targeted by officials within his own Justice Department and the FBI.

At a rally on Friday, Trump said there was a "lingering stench" about what was being exposed at the US Justice Department and promised he was going to get rid of that just as his administration had gotten rid of bad people at the FBI.

Speaking in Missouri Trump said "Just look at what is being exposed in our Justice Department."

"We have great people in the Department of Justice. ... But you've got some real bad ones. You've seen what's happened at the FBI. They're all gone," he told a rally for Republican Senate candidate Josh Hawley. "But there's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that, too."

Donald Trump Jr, the president's son, said: "I'm shocked, absolutely shocked. These guys would do anything in their power to undermine him."

Mr Rosenstein is overseeing the investigation by special counnsel Robert Mueller into allegations of collusion between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia.

He was said to have made his comments in the Spring of 2017 around the time Mr Trump fired James Comey as head of the FBI.

Mr Trump fired James Comey from the FBI last year Credit: AFP

Around the same time Mr Trump disclosed classified information to senior Russian officials visiting the Oval Office. which was said to have alarmed Mr Rosenstein.

At the time Mr Rosenstein was only a few weeks into his role.

He had himself  played a key role in the firing of Mr Comey, writing a memo that Mr Trump used to justify the firing.

Mr Rosenstein's alleged comments were described to the New York Times by several people familiar with them.

He was also said to have suggested that other FBI officials secretly record Mr Trump.

His remarks were said to have been written down in memos by FBI officials. 

Mr Rosenstein never did secretly record the president, the New York Times reported.

Mr Rosenstein is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into whether Mr Trump's campaign colluded with Russia Credit: Bloomberg

A Justice Department spokeswoman said Mr Rosenstein had made a comment about wearing a wire when speaking to the president but it had been made sarcastically.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump questioned the credibility of the woman who has accused his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault.

The president said she would have reported the attack to police at the time if it "was as bad as she says".

Dr Christine Blasey Ford, a professor in California, has claimed Judge Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than 30 years ago when they were teenagers, something he vehemently denies.

Mr Trump said on Twitter: "I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!"