President Trump appeared to blame Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the latest controversy surrounding Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Sunday, saying that Sessions had “hired” Rosenstein to be his second-in-command.
“He was hired by Jeff Sessions,” Trump said in an interview with “The Geraldo Show” on WTAM radio. “I was not involved in that process because, you know, they go out and get their own deputies and the people that work in the department.”
Trump announced on Jan. 31, 2017 he would nominate Rosenstein to be deputy attorney general. The Senate confirmed him that April.
The New York Times reported Friday that Rosenstein had discussed secretly recording the president and enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein has denied the report, and one person who was present at the time told Fox News the deputy attorney general was being “sarcastic” when he made the suggestion.
Trump told Geraldo Rivera on Sunday that the report was “a very sad story” and promised “we will make a determination” about what to do next. At a rally in Missouri on Friday night, the president said there was a “lingering stench” at the Justice Department that “we’re going to get rid of.”
Rosenstein made the comment about possibly recording Trump during a May 2017 meeting with Andrew McCabe, who had temporarily been elevated to FBI director following James Comey’s firing. McCabe himself was fired in March of this year amid an internal Justice Department investigation that concluded he repeatedly lied about his involvement in a news media disclosure.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.