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Rod Rosenstein Reportedly May Resign or Be Fired After Claim He Suggested Secretly Recording Trump

Tierney McAfee
Rod Rosenstein May Resign or Be Fired After Recording Allegation: Report

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein reportedly may resign or be fired on Monday, days after The New York Times published a bombshell report saying that the deputy attorney general proposed secretly recording Trump last year to expose the turmoil unfolding in the White House.

Axios reported that Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly on Monday “in anticipation of being fired” by President Donald Trump. The outlet cited a source with direct knowledge of the matter.

CNN also reported that Rosenstein was expecting to be fired on Monday.

The Times report said Rosenstein — who oversees Robert Mueller’s special counsel investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — also discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office for being unfit.

The White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

According to the Times report, Rosenstein, 53, made the proposals in the spring of 2017 after Trump’s controversial firing of then-FBI director James Comey.

“Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide,” the Times reported.

Rosenstein then made the suggestions to other Justice Department and FBI officials, according to the Times, which cited several people familiar with the matter who asked to remain anonymous. The sources said they’d been briefed on Rosenstein’s actions, or on memos written by FBI officials, including then-acting director Andrew G. McCabe.

It does not appear that any of Rosenstein’s suggestions were carried out, the Times said. But the newspaper noted that Rosenstein allegedly told McCabe that he might be able to convince Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to go along with a plan to invoke the 25th Amendment.

Rosenstein previously disputed the Times‘ report.

The New York Times’ story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement to the newspaper. “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 White House did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

A spokesman for McCabe, who was fired this year, declined to comment.

A Justice Department spokeswoman gave the Times a statement from a person who said they’d heard Rosenstein suggest wearing a wire. The person, who was not named, said Rosenstein was being sarcastic when he made the remark.

Other sources said Rosenstein was serious about the idea and had also suggested that other FBI officials secretly record Trump, 72.