Published 7:59 PM EDT Sep 21, 2018
WASHINGTON - Allies of President Donald Trump are calling for the firing of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after reports surfaced that he discussed invoking the 25th Amendment and suggested wearing a wire during encounters with the president.
Rosenstein, who oversees the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, has been in danger of firing for months. House Republicans filed articles of impeachment against him in July. Reports continue to mount that Trump is considering his ouster.
The calls for Rosenstein's firing appeared to increase at the same time special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation has picked up speed and took out several in the president's circle with indictments, guilty pleas or cooperation agreements. Rosenstein was given charge of the Mueller's investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself because he served as an adviser to the Trump campaign.
The New York Times report was met with an unusual welcome by Trump supporters. Some Republican members of Congress and hosts on Fox News pointed to the article as a rationale to further look into the claims or fire Rosenstein.
The report detailed Rosenstein discussing secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and recruiting members of the president's cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would remove the president from office for being unfit. Rosenstein denied both accusations.
Reports from other media agencies said Rosenstein's suggestions were jokes and were said sarcastically.
Nevertheless, it turned Washington on its head.
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"Rod Rosenstein must be fired today," Fox News host Laura Ingrahm wrote on Twitter. She also tagged the president in the post.
She wasn't alone. Fox News host Jeanine Pirro went farther, alleging Rosenstein is part of the so-called "resistance" conspiring against Trump.
"Rod Rosenstein shld have been fired long ago for being part of the ‘resistance’ and not providing documents to congress in order to save his corrupt pals," she wrote. "NOW HE MUST BE FIRED."
Donald Trump Jr., the president's son, posted about the story on Twitter and Instagram, saying "we can't let this farce continue."
"This is insane. They will do anything they can to stop @realdonaldtrump. We can’t let this farce continue," Trump Jr. wrote on Instagram with a photo of Rosenstein. "What are they resisting? The greatest economy in decades? The best job numbers in history for all demographics? America actually winning for a change? I don’t get it, but it has to stop."
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was among the Republicans who attempted to impeach Rosenstein, said while Rosenstein denies the story, he should hand over documents and memos to prove his innocence.
"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," Jordan wrote on Twitter.
Jordan has charged that Rosenstein has failed to hand over documents to Congress about the Russia investigation. The Department of Justice has already handed over about 880,000 documents to Congress, but conservatives are seeking more, alleging the Justice Department is hiding information.
Many Conservatives in Congress were fairly quiet about the allegations. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the reports should be viewed with caution.
"When it comes to President @realDonaldTrump..... BEWARE of anything coming out of the @nytimes," he wrote with a link to the Times' story on Rosenstein.
Democrats quickly denounced any potential calls for Rosenstein's firing.
Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote the president would be interfering with an investigation if he fired Rosenstein, adding others have spoken ill of Trump and still remain in the administration.
"This New York Times report 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 wrote.
"Generals Kelly, Mattis and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired," he added in a second post.