By Jon Dougherty
President Donald Trump on Sunday unloaded on his former attorney general and others he accused of being involved in an “Illegal and treasonous” attempt to depose him after he soundly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The president singled out former AG Jeff Sessions, fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after McCabe dished about private discussions about recording POTUS secretly in an effort to oust him from office.
The allegations have been part of a fierce debate over who’s telling the truth for months — ever since The New York Times published details of the allegations last fall. Then, the paper said that McCabe and Rosenstein were involved in what amounts to a coup attempt, with Rosenstein offering to “wear a wire” to catch the president saying something that would lead to his removal via the 25th Amendment.
Under that provision, two-thirds of the president’s Cabinet can vote to declare him unfit — mentally or physically — and have him removed. The Times report claimed that two people — Sessions and former DHS head and Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly — may have been on board with the plot.
Former top FBI lawyer James Baker confirmed that during testimony last October before two House committees — Oversight and Judiciary — as we reported Sunday. Baker provided details of alleged discussions between senior officials at the Justice Department regarding the invocation of the 25th Amendment, claiming that Rosenstein told him two Trump Cabinet officials were “ready to support” the effort.
On Sunday, “60 Minutes” aired an interview with McCabe in which the fired FBI official revived the allegations as part of promotional interviews for his forthcoming book. He told CBS News Rosenstein was “absolutely serious” when he suggested he would wear a wire to record Trump in the days after the president fired then-FBI Director James Comey — on Rosenstein’s recommendation — for the way he allowed Clinton to skate despite her obvious criminal mishandling of classified emails.
POTUS angrily denounced the coup attempt, labeling McCabe a liar before lashing out at top DOJ and FBI officials, including Sessions, whom he ousted, for what he described as a “deranged” plan.
“He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught … There is a lot of explaining to do to the millions of people who had just elected a president who they really like and who has done a great job for them with the Military, Vets, Economy and so much more. This was the illegal and treasonous ‘insurance policy’ in full action!” he tweeted.
Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff Sessions (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2019
….There is a lot of explaining to do to the millions of people who had just elected a president who they really like and who has done a great job for them with the Military, Vets, Economy and so much more. This was the illegal and treasonous “insurance policy” in full action!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 18, 2019
“Insurance policy” is a reference to texts between former FBI officials Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page, who discussed such a policy, without getting into details. The text was widely believed to refer to aspects of the fake Russian collusion probe and “Spygate.”
McCabe claimed he “never actually considered taking [Rosenstein] up on the offer.” He did, however, say discussed the matter with Baker.
McCabe told CBS News that “I think the general counsel had a heart attack” when told of Rosenstein’s offer.
“And when he got up off the floor, he said, ‘I, I, that’s a bridge too far. We’re not there yet,'” McCabe noted.
A week after Comey was fired, Rosenstein — in charge of the Russia investigation because Sessions recused himself, which also angered the president — appointed another establishment figure — former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to look into the Russian allegations.
Rosenstein and the Justice Department have repeatedly denied McCabe’s claims. But he told 60 Minutes Sunday, “Rod raised the [25th Amendment] issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other Cabinet officials might support such an effort.” He added that he believed Rosenstein was “counting votes or possible votes” to remove Trump from office.
During his testimony last fall, Baker confirmed McCabe’s version of events.
“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the Deputy Attorney General, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me — that he had at least two members of the president’s Cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” he told lawmakers.
One aspect of all of this that hasn’t been raised, at least by the media, is this: What roles did former President Obama play in this coup attempt? What did he know and when did he know it? How much of this he authorize before he left office (it was during that time that Strzok and Page discussed the “insurance policy,” for instance)?
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
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