Senate to probe if DOJ officials discussed removal of Trump

IN this March 13, 2019, photo, reporters pose questions to Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The Republican-led Senate is set to deal President Donald Trump a rebuke on his declaration of a national emergency at the Mexican border, with the only remaining question how many GOP senators will join Democrats in defying him. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham says his panel will investigate a claim by former FBI Director Andrew McCabe that Justice Department officials once discussed using the Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.

McCabe has said that after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in May 2017, officials at the department, including McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, discussed bringing the Cabinet together to consider using the amendment to remove Trump. The Justice Department has not denied those discussions took place but said in February that department leaders did not believe there was any basis for invoking the 25th Amendment, which enables Cabinet members to seek a president's ouster if they believe the person is unfit for office.

Graham on Friday sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr requesting documents related to those discussions.

"The Committee is deeply concerned with these discussions and whether they essentially indicate that two of the highest ranking law enforcement officials in the United States were discussing what amounts to a coup against the President," Graham said. "Accordingly, the Committee plans to conduct oversight into these discussions and related matters."

Graham said he also has concerns about reports that Rosenstein had suggested wearing a wire to record conversations with Trump. The Justice Department has said that Rosenstein "never authorized" any recording.

The committee is requesting memos written by McCabe and all communications after Comey was fired that reference the 25th Amendment or recordings of the president, among other documents.

McCabe is a frequent target of Trump's ire. He was fired from the FBI last year after the Justice Department inspector general concluded he had lied during an internal investigation into a news media disclosure.

Those allegations, which McCabe has denied, have been referred for investigation to the U.S. attorney's office in Washington.

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