Hours after the New York Times reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested previous year secretly recording Trump at the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, Trump told a packed rally, "Just look at what is being exposed in our Justice Department".
The New York Times cited several people, who were not named, who described the episodes that came in the spring of 2017 after FBI Director James Comey was sacked.
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. He also allegedly tried to gather support in the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment in order to remove the President for being unfit to perform his duties.
But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Rosenstein instead spent part of the day in scheduled meetings, including "extended" conversation with Trump about recent news stories.
A number of key Federal Bureau of Investigation officials, including Director James Comey and his deputy, Andrew McCabe, have been fired since Trump took office.
"We have great people in the Department of Justice. but we have some real bad ones", Trump said. Any dismissal could affect Mueller's Russian Federation probe given that Rosenstein still oversees Mueller's work.
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".
Rosenstein is a frequent target of Trump's attacks and the story could add to the uncertainty about his future at the Justice Department, despite his denial.
The president's declaration on Friday appears to indicate he is willing to let the Justice Department's inspector general - which is already conducting an internal investigation of how the Russian Federation probe has been handled - review the material rather than release it publicly.
Putin tells Netanyahu he rejects Israeli version of Syria plane downing
A Russian military Ilyushin IL-20 landing at Kubinka air base on June 3, 2011. The Russian president also informed Assad of the S-300 delivery, it said.
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Springfield, Mo.
The saga features two of the president's biggest targets for public criticism, McCabe and Rosenstein, both of whom he blames for an investigation he calls a "witch hunt".
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement: "This 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". That person's identity is unknown to journalists in the Times news department.
This official and a source who was in the room characterized Rosenstein's remark as sarcastic.
Schumer says the report must not be used for the "corrupt purpose" of firing Rosenstein.
Eric Bolling, a former Fox News host who is in contact with the president, said that "if the allegation is true, absolutely fire Rosenstein".
26 July 2018 - After the justice department rejects a request to release Mr McCabe's memos, conservatives in the House of Representatives file articles of impeachment in an effort to oust Mr Rosenstein, accusing him of stonewalling their requests for information, which he denies.