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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.

Go deeper

Updated 3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump’s friends worry legal pick for N.Y. case lacks experience

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Close associates and advisers to Donald Trump tell Axios they're concerned by his decision to use a relatively inexperienced New Jersey attorney, Alina Habba, in his high-stakes legal fight against New York Attorney General Letitia James.

Why it matters: A former president typically has access to the country's most prestigious experts, including lawyers. Trump has turned to the former general counsel for a parking garage company, who works from a small law office near his Bedminster, N.J., country club.

U.S. charges 4 Belarus officials with air piracy in journalist's arrest

A Boeing 737-8AS Ryanair passenger planefrom Athens, Greece, that was diverted to Minsk, Belarus, in May. Photo: Petras Malukas/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Thursday charged four Belarusian government officials with conspiracy to commit aircraft piracy as part of an operation to arrest a dissident Belarusian journalist.

Why it matters: Prosecutors say the officials fabricated a bomb threat aboard a Ryanair flight carrying the journalist Raman Pratasevich last May, forcing it to land in Minsk, Belarus instead.

20 mins ago - World

What Putin's Ukraine options look like

Putin confers with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty

The Biden administration is framing Russian escalation in Ukraine as almost a foregone conclusion, but the Russians are still at the table and Vladimir Putin may be seeking concessions from the West rather than a military confrontation with Kyiv.

Driving the news: Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who will meet his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov tomorrow in Geneva, contended in a speech Thursday from Berlin that Putin's intentions are clear: "He's laying the groundwork for an invasion because he doesn’t believe Ukraine is a sovereign nation."