Soon after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested using a wiretap to record President Trump, then-acting FBI director Andrew McCabe went to the bureau’s top lawyer seeking advice on what he had heard. Rosenstein, McCabe told the lawyer, wanted to furtively record the president to help explore whether Trump had obstructed justice. The lawyer, James Baker, dismissed the idea, according to people familiar with the episode who described it the Washington Post. Baker told congressional investigators last week that the deputy attorney general’s suggestion was presented to him by senior FBI officials as being serious — raising questions about Rosenstein’s assertions to the contrary. Rosenstein is expected to talk to congressional investigators about the 2017 episode, which nearly cost him his job after it was disclosed last month. It was not clear when the session would occur.
The high-stakes interview with some close Trump allies could again put the deputy attorney general in the hot seat, especially if those lawmakers are unconvinced of Rosenstein’s testimony and relay their concerns to the president. His testimony also could give Trump supporters more ammunition to criticize the special counsel probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, an investigation Rosenstein supervises. “Really, we want to give the deputy attorney general the chance to clarify what was said and what was not said,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), a Trump ally who has been critical of Rosenstein. Baker said the proposal to wear a wire was dismissed by senior FBI and Justice Department officials “within a couple of days.” At the time of the meeting, tensions were running high between Rosenstein and McCabe, and according to participants, it was clear that both men were on edge.