On Wednesday, Judicial Watch released 14 pages of records from the Department of Justice, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that revealed officials’ efforts in dealing with media inquiries about talks within the FBI/DOJ allegedly invoking the 25th Amendment in order to “remove” President Trump from office, and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggesting he could wear a “wire” to secretly record his conversations with the president.
After a September 21st, 2018, New York Times report claiming Rosenstein suggested he would wear wire to secretly record Trump and his discussions of using the 25th Amendment, the records show that Rosenstein wanted to guarantee the media would have “difficulty” finding someone in the DOJ to comment and a combined effort within the DOJ to frame the reporting as “factually incorrect”
In the records obtained by Judicial Watch, an email from Assistant U.S. Attorney (DOJ/NSD) Harvey Eisenburg to Rosenstein on September 21st, 2018, informed the Deputy Attorney General that Washington Post reporter Ellen Nakashima had inquired about a New York Times report on the 25th Amendment/wire discussion. Rosenstein replied, “Thanks! Hopefully, we are being successful, and the reporters are having difficulty finding anybody to comment about things. [Remainder of email redacted.]”
The day before, on September 20th, 2018, the New York Times’ Adam Goldman emailed DOJ Public Affairs officer Sarah Isgur Flores that he and Mike Schmidt were working on a story and wanted a response from the DOJ to certain questions, including that during a May 16, 2017, meeting Rosenstein offered to wear secretly wear a “wire” during his conversations with Trump. “He also said [Andrew] McCabe could wear a wire.” Goldman also alleges that in a separate conversation between Rosenstein and Andrew McCabe, they debated using the 25th Amendment “to remove President Trump” and that “Rosenstein said that he may be able to get (then-Attorney General Jeff) Sessions and Kelly to go along with the plan.”
These new documents show the extent to which Rosenstein has been lying and covering up his scheme to overthrow Trump by wearing a secret wire and recruit cabinet members to remove the president under the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein sought to conceal his plot by shutting down comments and/or confirmation from others at the DOJ and issuing a carefully crafted non-denial denial. The statement was a clever misdirection and deflection. He didn’t deny the plot, but claimed he didn’t “authorize” a secret recording and then stated there was no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment. It was an obvious diversion designed to hide the truth. At the same time, he had others tell reporters that he’d been merely “sarcastic” when he discussed it with Andrew McCabe, then acting FBI director.
The problem for Rosenstein is that there were 2 other FBI witnesses, in addition to McCabe: Lisa Page and James Baker. They both testified that Rosenstein was serious, not sarcastic. Then, fearing he’d get fired, Rosenstein lied to President Trump. Chapter 4 of my new book is entitled “The Attempted Coup.” Here is the relevant passage:
On October 8, 2018, Rosenstein was invited aboard Air Force One to discuss the matter with Trump face-to-face. Here is what the president told me about their meeting:
JARRETT: Two witnesses who were in Rosen stein’s office in the days after Comey was fired confirmed that he was serious about wearing a wire to secretly record you and recruiting cabinet members to remove you from office. You talked to him about it on Air Force One on the way to Florida. What did he say?
PRESIDENT TRUMP: He said it didn’t happen. He said he never said it. What he told other people is that he was joking. But to me, he claimed he never said it.
JARRETT: Did you believe him?
PRESIDENT: I didn’t really know what to believe.
JARRETT: Why did you keep him on as deputy attorney general?
PRESIDENT: Because I thought it would be bad to fire people in the middle of an investigation. And it turned out to be the right thing to do.
So which was it? A joke or a fiction? Logically, it cannot be both. During which account was Rosenstein telling the truth? In one of them, he must have been lying. It is no wonder he resisted all efforts to be questioned under oath by Congress. Lying to the president is not a prosecutable crime, but lying to Congress during an investigative hearing is.
As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said of the documents that have been obtained through FOIAs, “These documents essentially confirm the coup discussions about wearing a wire when speaking with President Trump and plans to remove him under the 25th Amendment.”