Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein rejected allegations made by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to CBS News that he and other officials discussed removing the president via the 25th amendment after he fired James Comey, according to a Department of Justice (DOJ) statement.
“As to the specific portions of this interview provided to the Department of Justice by 60 Minutes in advance, the Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect,” the statement said.
CBS News’ Scott Pelley reported Thursday morning after interviewing McCabe:
There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.
These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president.
.@ScottPelley on what McCabe told @60Minutes: “There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment.” pic.twitter.com/iVAyrEV4MF
— Norah O’Donnell🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) February 14, 2019
“[McCabe] is the very first person involved in these meetings who has come out and spoken publicly,” Pelley said. “They were counting noses, they were not asking cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating ‘This person would be with us. That person would not be,’ and they were counting noses in that effort. … This was not perceived to be a joke.”
Pelley also said McCabe told him Rosenstein offered multiple times to wear a wire in meetings with the president, and that he was so serious about it he took it to FBI lawyers.
The DOJ said in its statement “the Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references.”
“Finally, the Deputy Attorney General never spoke to Mr. Comey about appointing a Special Counsel. The Deputy Attorney General in fact appointed Special Counsel Mueller, and directed that Mr. McCabe be removed from any participation in that investigation,” the DOJ said.
The statement also essentially called McCabe a liar. It pointed to a finding by the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz, that McCabe had lied to federal investigators.
“Subsequent to this removal, DOJ’s Inspector General found that Mr. McCabe did not tell the truth to federal authorities on multiple occasions, leading to his termination from the FBI,” it said.
The New York Times reported in September that Rosenstein had suggested that he wear a wire to talk to the president, and discussed removing him by invoking the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein denied the story, but refused to speak to testify in front of the then-Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee.
The DOJ reiterated Rosenstein’s previous position that based on his personal dealings with the president, “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
Rosenstein is due to step down from his position, following the confirmation of William Barr as attorney general this week.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March. In April, Horowitz concludedthat McCabe had repeatedly lied to investigators when asked about media leaks related to FBI efforts to investigate the Clinton Foundation in 2016.
McCabe’s interview comes as part of a book tour launch for his new book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.”