Sep 21, 2018

NYT: Rosenstein discussed rallying cabinet members to remove Trump

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.

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Judge rules against Trump policy limiting public comment on energy leasing

Photo: Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday overturned a 2018 Trump administration directive that sought to speed up energy leases on public land by limiting the amount of time the public could comment.

Why it matters: U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush's decision voids almost a million acres of leases in the West, according to The Washington Post. It's a victory for environmentalists, who tried to block the change as part of an effort to protect the habitat of the at-risk greater sage grouse.

  • The ruling invalidated five oil and gas leases in Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming, and affected 104,688 square miles of greater sage-grouse habitat, per The Associated Press.
  • Leases in greater sage-grouse habitat will return to allowing 30 days of public comment and administrative protest.

The big picture: From Axios' Amy Harder, this is the latest in a long and convoluted list of regulatory rollbacks the Trump administration is pursuing on environmental rules that courts are, more often than not, rebutting. With Congress gridlocked on these matters, expect the courts to be the default way Trump's agenda faces checks (unless, of course, a Democrat wins the White House this November).

Your best defense against coronavirus

Photo: Adrian Greeman/Construction Photography/Avalon/Getty Images

Washing your hands is the best way to protect against the novel coronavirus, according to doctors and health officials, as the virus continues to spread around the globe.

Why it matters: Clean hands can stop germs from spreading in a community, a known characteristic in COVID-19 and influenza.

Major League Soccer embarks on its 25th season

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Major League Soccer begins its 25th season, the league is financially stable and surging in popularity, and its 26 teams have gorgeous facilities and rapidly increasing valuations.

  • It also continues to expand, with David Beckham's Inter Miami and Nashville SC set to debut this season as the 25th and 26th teams. Plans are in place to reach 30 franchises by 2022 — triple the number from 2004.
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