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Two talk show hosts clashed over the Friday New York Times report that alleged Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording President Trump and removing him from office.

McCabe and Page both wrote their own notes about the meetings, and while Page's notes also mention Rosenstein bringing up the idea of putting a wire on someone to record Trump, Page's notes do not reflect any suggestion that Rosenstein was joking, according to one source familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein told McCabe, who was also later fired by Trump, that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John Kelly, the former homeland security secretary and current White House chief of staff, to invoke the 25th Amendment, the Times said.

That memo was used by the White House as a central justification for Comey's firing, but many law enforcement officials suspected that that was a pretext and that Rosenstein had been manipulated into providing cover for possible obstruction of justice.

In a 2016 op-ed article in The Wall Street Journal, Francisco took aim at James Comey, then the FBI director, accusing Comey of acting in political interests by watering down an investigation into Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee.

None of Rosenstein's proposals were enacted, and the Times said it is unclear how determined he was about them.

Trump told a campaign rally in Missouri on Friday that the department has some "great people" but also "some real bad ones". The president has said he believes the documents will bolster his argument that investigators in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe are biased against him.

McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement that his client "drafted memos to memorialize significant discussions he had with high level officials and preserved them so he would have an accurate, contemporaneous record of those discussions".

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"He solicited others to wear wires, including Andrew McCabe, who was later fired as Assistant FBI Director".

Rosenstein, the country's 37th deputy US attorney general, graduated from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a bachelor's degree in economics in 1986, according to his official biography on the Department of Justice website.

Donald Trump has spent a lot of time disparaging "fake news" reports from the "failing" New York Times largely based on anonymous sources.

News organizations reported differing accounts Monday morning, including that Rosenstein resigned, that he was sacked, and that he was leaving the administration.

"I believe much of the criticism will fall by the wayside when people reflect on this era and the Department of Justice", said Rosenstein, who did not refer to Trump directly.

Rosenstein gave a full-throated rejection of the piece and argued that it is not appropriate to invoke the 25th Amendment, which stipulates the president can be ousted if he or she is mentally unfit to serve, against Trump.

Some of the details in Mr. McCabe's memos suggested that Mr. Rosenstein had regrets about the firing of Mr. Comey.

Rosenstein issued a second statement not long after the president spoke. Those calls were amplified by Fox News hosts, whom the president had previously cited as influencing his decision. Another Republican close to the White House said in an interview that the communications director, Bill Shine, wanted to gather more information before taking an aggressive stance on Rosenstein. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Rosenstein was speaking sarcastically, and NBC reported likewise.