President Donald Trump’s allies in conservative media were quick to suggest that he fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “immediately” after The New York Times reported Friday that he discussed the 25th Amendment in the days after the president fired FBI Director James Comey.
Fox News hosts Laura Ingraham and Jeanine Pirro, in addition to legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, pushed the president to fire Rosenstein soon after The Times published its story.
“He needs to go. Today,” tweeted Ingraham, who added in another tweet that the deputy attorney general “must be fired today,” tagging Trump’s Twitter account.
The Times reported that Rosenstein commented on invoking the 25th Amendment and about secretly recording Trump in meetings and conversations with Justice Department and FBI officials, according to several people who described the comments to the publication. Those sources were either briefed on the comments or on memos FBI officials such as then-FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe authored.
In a statement to The Times, Rosenstein disputed the story, calling it “inaccurate and factually incorrect.” He added that the information was planted by “anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda.”
“But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” Rosenstein said.
An anonymous Justice Department spokeswoman told The Times that a person who was present when Rosenstein proposed secretly recording Trump by wearing a wire during a meeting with the president said the comment was made sarcastically. Other publications subsequently reported that the comment was sarcastic in nature.
A section of the 25th Amendment allows for the vice president plus a majority of the Cabinet members to declare that the president is unfit for office. But there is no mechanism for dealing with a president who simply decides to fire Cabinet members who choose to join with a majority declaring the president unfit once a president were to catch wind of the effort.
Rosenstein’s proposals did not ultimately come to fruition, The Times wrote.
“Driven by vengeance, Rosenstein sought to secretly record the President,” Jarrett tweeted. “He must be fired immediately! Since a clearly biased Rosenstein has been in charge of the Mueller investigation, it must be terminated. This illegitimate probe has been tainted by corruption from the start.”
“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,” Pirro tweeted, mentioning the document requests made by conservative House members of Rosenstein. “NOW HE MUST BE FIRED.”
Interestingly, Trump’s allies seemed to be OK with using an anonymously sourced story from The Times as the basis of its calls to fire Rosenstein as soon as today.
As for The Times, Trump has repeatedly referred to the publication as “The Failing New York Times” when the outlet publishes a story he is not fond of.
Some conservatives expressed caution in their response to The Times story, however.
“When it comes to President @realDonaldTrump….. BEWARE of anything coming out of the @nytimes,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who has become more of a Trump ally in recent months.
Former Republican Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a fellow Trump ally, tweeted that he was not sure if the story was true because it was published by the “NY Slimes.”
But, he said if it were true, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “needs to fire Rosenstein and if he won’t @realDonaldTrump needs to fire both of them since Rosenstein doesn’t seem to have the integrity to resign.”