WASHINGTON — Prominent members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are calling for the release of memos penned by former FBI Director Andrew McCabe that reportedly describe conversations with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about covertly recording President Donald Trump and invoking the 25th amendment to remove him from office.
Rosenstein denies the NYT story.
Mr. Rosenstein, give Congress the McCabe memos that we asked for in July and all the other documents we’ve requested so we can all judge for ourselves.https://t.co/dHOgL73paP
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) September 21, 2018
Andy McCabe is under investigation for lying to the FBI. His words and memos should be viewed with extreme skepticism.
But if this story is true, it underscores a gravely troubling culture at FBI/DOJ and the need for FULL transparency. Declassify everything. Let Americans judge.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 21, 2018
The caucus has frequently clashed with the deputy attorney general.
Its leadership floated impeachment this summer after Rosenstein failed to provide documents requested by lawmakers.
Rosenstein is also the sole Justice Department official who can dismiss Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting an investigation into potential collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, adding a political subtext to the opposition.
In light of Friday’s report, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) issued a statement urging the White House to not fire Rosenstein.
“This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Schumer said. “Generals Kelly, Mattis and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired.”
The New York Times reported Friday that Rosenstein spoke with McCabe about the moves against the president shortly after former FBI Director James Comey was dismissed.
According to the Times, Rosenstein said he believed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Department of Homeland Security John Kelly would be willing to pursue the constitutional procedure, which would require a majority of the cabinet to formally declare the president unfit for office.
Rosenstein has contested the report.
“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the Department and are advancing their own personal agenda,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “But let me be clear about this: based on my personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
Michael Bromwich, an attorney representing McCabe, confirmed in a statement that memos from his client exist, but did not address their content.
McCabe was fired from the FBI in March after the inspector general found that he mislead investigators.
The former official suggested that it was politically motivated.
The Freedom Caucus has previously urged Trump to declassify documents related to Mueller’s probe, something that Trump appeared to acquiesce to on Monday.
On Friday, however, Trump backtracked on an initial demand to immediately declassify the material, tweeting out that he has been advised to allow them to be subjected to review first.
When reached for comment on the Freedom Caucus’ latest request, Justice Department spokesperson Sarah Igur Flores replied with Rosenstein’s initial statement.