Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Last year, following the firing of James Comey, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed rallying cabinet members to remove Trump from office — by invoking the 25th Amendment — and suggested he secretly record the president in the White House in an effort to "expose the chaos consuming the administration," New York Times' Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt report.

Between the lines: It is not clear how serious Rosenstein was about his plans. The idea to wear a wire when interviewing potential FBI directors with President Trump was never acted upon, according to the Times. Rosentstein reportedly told former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe that he believed he could get Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on board in an effort to remove Trump from the presidency.

Trump cited a memo Rosenstein wrote critiquing former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the Clinton investigation as reasoning behind his decision to fire Comey. Afterward, Rosenstein told people he had felt used, per the Times.

  • Rosenstein disputed the Times' story calling it "inaccurate and factually incorrect" in a statement provided to the news agency. He added, "let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment."
  • A Justice Department spokesperson sent a statement to the Times from someone who had been in the room when Rosenstein suggested wearing a secret recording device to an interview with Trump said that it was mentioned in a sarcastic manner.

"I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false," reads a Justice Department statement on behalf of Rosenstein sent to Axios.

Editor's note: This story was updated with Rosenstein's latest statement.

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 12,009,301 — Total deaths: 548,799 — Total recoveries — 6,561,969Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 3,053,328 — Total deaths: 132,256 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,532,612Map.
  3. Public health: Houston mayor cancels Republican convention over coronavirus concerns Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.

Transcripts show George Floyd told police "I can't breathe" over 20 times

Photo: Gary Coronado/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Newly released transcripts of bodycam footage from the Minneapolis Police Department show that George Floyd told officers he could not breathe more than 20 times in the moments leading up to his death.

Why it matters: Floyd's killing sparked a national wave of Black Lives Matter protests and an ongoing reckoning over systemic racism in the United States. The transcripts "offer one the most thorough and dramatic accounts" before Floyd's death, The New York Times writes.

8 hours ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.