Apr 9, 2019

Ex-FBI official says 2 Cabinet members were open to invoking 25th Amendment

President Trump speaking to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Former FBI general counsel James Baker told the House Judiciary Committee last October that it's his understanding that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there were 2 members of President Trump's Cabinet who were willing to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

The backdrop: The New York Times reported last September that Rosenstein had discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment, which provides procedures for removing the president when he is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." Around the same time, Rosenstein also reportedly discussed wearing a wire to secretly record Trump in the White House.

  • Baker, who is under criminal investigation for leaking to the press, told the committee that he did not connect the two discussions, but that Rosenstein appeared to be serious about both.
  • Baker said that Rosenstein's discussions about wearing a wire were related more to finding out whether Trump was trying to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation by firing FBI director James Comey.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee released the transcript of their interview with Baker on Tuesday.

Baker: To the best of my recollection [former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe] told me that the deputy attorney general said that he had at least two members of the Cabinet who were ready to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Q: And what happened after that during that conversation? Did Mr. McCabe tell you anything else?
Baker: I am sure he told me other things in that conversation, but it was in part both of those things were relayed to me with other information with respect to — what the DAG was going through at the time and how he was thinking about his involvement in the firing of Director Comey and how he was thinking about proceeding after that.
Q: Did people tell you that the DAG was upset?
Baker: Yes.
Q: Did they tell you that he was making jokes?
A: No.
Q: Did they tell you that --
A: This was not a joking sort of time. This was pretty dark.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 755,591 — Total deaths: 36,211 — Total recoveries: 158,527.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 148,089 — Total deaths: 2,599 — Total recoveries: 4,886.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan.
  4. State updates: At least 30 states have issued stay-at-home orders to residents. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said more than 9,500 people have been hospitalized.
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Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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