The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has hinted that Rod Rosenstein could be in jeopardy, after reports on Friday said the deputy attorney general discussed wearing a wire to record conversations with Donald Trump and the possibility of invoking the 25th amendment to remove the president.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. President Donald Trump has issued an ominous warning about the Justice Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, promising more firings to rid a "lingering stench" after reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording Trump.
While it was unclear what Trump was referring to, a source with knowledge of the matter said Horowitz's office also is conducting a review of the FBI's counter-intelligence investigation on Trump campaign associates' ties to Russian Federation, which began in July 2016.
The New York Times reported that Mr Rosenstein had discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th amendment of the United States constitution, which provides for the removal of a president if he is deemed unfit for office.
The recordings were to be used to expose the inner turmoil within the White House at that time, according to the New York Times.
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.
Rosenstein has issued two statements disputing the Times report.
We have great people in the Department of Justice. but we have some real bad ones. He added, "There's a lingering stench and we're going to get rid of that".
Mr McCabe's lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said his client "has no knowledge of how any member of the media obtained those memos".
Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, told Business Insider last month that he thought Francisco made for an ideal candidate to replace Attorney General Jeff Sessions. However Sean Hannity, who has perhaps even more influence with the president than Ingraham or Pirro, said Trump should not do that. Some Republican members of Congress and hosts on Fox News pointed to the article as a rationale to further look into the claims or fire Rosenstein.
More broadly, it's the latest revelation that could affect Mueller, who is investigating possible coordination between Russian Federation and Trump's presidential campaign in 2016.
However, another source familiar with how the Justice Department officials who attended that later meeting viewed what happened, said their belief was that Rosenstein was being "sarcastic" - noting that there was never any follow-up conversation from Rosenstein or anyone else about it.
A key issue now is how the White House will respond to the revelations and disputes, as some high-profile conservatives argued the new information justifies firing Rosenstein.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said the Times story "must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt objective of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the special counsel's investigation".
The 25th amendment provides for the removal of a president deemed unfit for office.
Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who is in contact with the president, said that "if the allegation is true, absolutely fire Rosenstein".
Democrats quickly denounced any potential calls for Rosenstein's firing. A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Rosenstein was speaking sarcastically, and NBC reported likewise.