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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

30 mins ago - World

South Africa says it's being "punished" for detecting new COVID variant

South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor addresses the 76th Session of the U.N. General Assembly on September 22, 2021 in New York City. Photo: Eduardo Munoz - Pool/Getty Images)

South Africa said Saturday it's being "punished" for detecting the new Omicron coronavirus variant as more countries rush to enact travel bans and restrictions.

Driving the news: The U.S. imposed air travel restrictions from eight countries Friday in response to the Omicron variant. Countries in Europe and Asia have also implemented their own travel restrictions in response to Omicron.

Trump can't quit mainstream media

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa are interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" in September. Photo: William B. Plowman/NBC via Getty Images

Bob Woodward and Robert Costa issued a rebuttal on Friday to a statement by former President Donald Trump that misrepresented their reporting — and once again showed the 45th president's thin skin about mainstream media.

Driving the news: "Former President Trump said ... our book, 'Peril,' implied that he was planning to go to war with China," the statement begins. "[W]e report that Chairman of Joint Chiefs Mark Milley 'believed that Trump did not want a war' before or after the 2020 election."

NY declares state of emergency amid concerns over Omicron COVID variant

Governor Kathy Hochul makes an announcement about a new plan transforming Penn Station on Nov. 3, 2021. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday declared a state of emergency amid rising COVID-19 cases and the newly-identified Omicron variant of the virus.

Driving the news: The declaration enables the state to acquire supplies to fight a potential surge in cases, increase hospital capacity and combat potential staff shortages, NBC's local affiliate reports.