President Donald Trump vowed Friday night to eradicate a “lingering stench” at the Justice Department, hours after it was reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed wearing a “wire” to record conversations with Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
The President did not name Rosenstein, or any official, by name, and he did not address the report at the rally. But he’s frequently feuded with Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the Russia investigation, and he considered dismissing the deputy attorney general in April.
“I want to tell you, we have great people in the Department of Justice, we have great people. These are people, I really believe, you take a poll, I got to be at 95%,” Trump told rallygoers in Missouri. “But we had some real bad ones – you see what’s happened at the FBI, they’re all gone, they’re all gone, they’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that, too.”
He said, “Just look at what is now being exposed in our Department of Justice and the FBI. Look at what’s going on. Look at what’s going on.”
Friday’s revelations about Rosenstein prompted the deputy attorney general to issue two statements denying the report.
“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,” Rosenstein said.
But the bombshell allegations – first reported by The New York Times and confirmed to CNN by sources familiar with memos authored by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe documenting the discussions – immediately raised questions about Rosenstein’s future.
The White House has not commented on the Rosenstein story.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.