After the bombshell New York Times report revealing that deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein suggested secretly recording the president to “expose the chaos consuming the administration” and discussed invoking “the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit,” editor-in-chief of Lawfare Ben Wittes told MSNBC Friday that he was more surprised by what Rosenstein’s reaction didn’t say than what it did.
“It says the story is factually inaccurate,” said Wittes, who has known former FBI director James Comey for several years. “But it does not say either that he never suggested wearing a wire or that he never invoked, suggested they have a serious discussion about the 25th Amendment.”
“His comments about the 25th Amendment in the statement are all contemporaneous to now. I don’t think he’s contradicting the story on any of the two material points.” Wittes added. “So I actually think that Rod Rosenstein’s and the Justice Department’s reaction in a weird sort of way doesn’t challenge the premises and factual underpinnings of this story.”
Asked by host Katy Tur if it wasn’t “enough to say the story is inaccurate”, Wittes said “if it were not the case that he had made these comments or these meetings had taken place, you would think they would say ‘that’s not true.'”
“The one person that they produced who was at the meetings actually suggests the factual claim is correct,” Wittes added. “I think there’s a bit of a nondenial denial.”
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