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

How "naked ballots" could upend mail-in voting in Pennsylvania

Trump signs in Olyphant, Penn. Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

Pennsylvania's Supreme Court ordered state officials last week to throw out mail-in ballots submitted without a required inner "secrecy" envelope in November's election, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The state of play: The decision went under the radar alongside the simultaneous decision to extend the time that mail-in ballots could be counted, but Philadelphia's top elections official warned state legislators this week that throwing out so-called "naked ballots" could bring "electoral chaos" to the state and cause "tens of thousands of votes" to be thrown out — potentially tipping the presidential election.

Commission releases topics for first presidential debate

Moderator Chris Wallace. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace has selected what topics he'll cover while moderating the first presidential debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden next week.

What to watch: Topics for the Sept. 29 debate will include Trump and Biden's records, the Supreme Court, COVID-19, economic policy, racism and the integrity of the election, the Commission for Presidential Debates announced on Tuesday. Each topic will receive 15 minutes of conversation and will be presented in no particular order.

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

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