Rod Rosenstein has vehemently denied that he was being serious about recording the president. But according to a new report, top FBI lwyer James Baker has testified that the FBI took it very seriously:
After 2017 meeting where Rosenstein reportedly discussed wearing wire to record Trump, FBI's McCabe, Page headed to Baker's office. Told him what happened. Despite later Rosenstein explanation that it was sarcasm, FBI officials took idea very seriously. https://t.co/A3VvqefjCI
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 9, 2018
DC EXAMINER – Not long after a 2017 meeting in which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly discussed wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with President Trump, two top officials in the meeting, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and bureau lawyer Lisa Page, went to the office of a third FBI official, general counsel James Baker.
They told Baker what Rosenstein said, according to Baker’s recent testimony to House investigators. And Baker took the news very seriously.
After Rosenstein’s comments were reported in the New York Times last month, Rosenstein sent out word through intermediaries that he hadn’t really meant it, that he was speaking sarcastically. But that is not how top FBI officials took it at the time.
“The thing that struck me the most was the serious look on Baker’s face when he was describing it,” one source close to the investigation said of Baker’s House interview. “He was conveying that they [McCabe and Page] took it seriously, and because they took it seriously, he took it seriously.”
“McCabe, Page, and Baker were talking about [secretly recording the president] as a real thing, and discussing it as a serious issue,” said another source close to the investigation.
There has been some speculation among Hill Republicans that McCabe was behind the story, that he was trying to set Rosenstein up for a fall. Investigators wondered whether McCabe and Page were telling Baker the truth. But at the very least, Baker’s interview shows that Rosenstein’s suggestion was taken seriously.
Baker also testified that he believed Rosenstein was working with a couple officials on impeaching Trump via the 25th amendment:
The Times also reported that Rosenstein “discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.” One of the sources familiar with the investigation said that Baker, in his House interview, “did indicate that there was strong belief that Rosenstein was coordinating with two people within the administration who were contemplating invoking the 25th.”
Despite all of the friction between Rosenstein and the House Republicans over the Mueller investigation, I’ve been holding out hope that Rosenstein is the boy scout that he’s claimed to be and that everyone else initially claimed him to be in early 2017. Yes I know he signed off on the Carter Page FISA warrants. But I really hate to think of him as someone trying to undermine the president as Comey, McCabe, Strzok and Page did.
But it’s starting to look like that my hope may have been misplaced.