WATCH: Inside the Tumultuous Trump-Rosenstein Relationship

September 21, 2018
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by Patrice Taddonio Assistant Director of Audience Development

Rod Rosenstein, deputy attorney general, listens during a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A bombshell report Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump escalated tensions between the president and members of his own government.

The report in The New York Times said that in the aftermath of Trump’s May 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey, Rosenstein suggested secretly recording conversations with Trump, and discussed recruiting cabinet members to remove him from office. Rosenstein initially called the story, which cited anonymous sources, “inaccurate and factually incorrect.” In a later statement, he also said, “I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false.”

FRONTLINE’s upcoming season premiere, Trump’s Showdown, goes inside Comey’s firing, and in the excerpt below shows how the deputy attorney general was drawn into that critical event. It began with a meeting between Trump, Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Comey’s firing prompted shock, anger and chaos. When White House press officials hit the TV circuit to defend the firing, they pointed to Rosenstein, and the memo he’d written critiquing Comey at the president’s request.

Rosenstein wasn’t pleased to be receiving the blame:

Trump’s Showdown goes on to detail how the fallout from the firing would ultimately lead to Rosenstein appointing Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel to lead the ongoing Russia investigation.

Watch the full story beginning Tuesday, October 2 at 9 p.m. EST/8 p.m. CST on PBS stations and online. From filmmaker Michael Kirk and his team, this two-hour special draws on more than 60 in-depth interviews with former heads of U.S. intelligence agencies, Trump insiders, attorneys, authors and journalists to reveal how an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has grown to threaten Donald Trump’s presidency.

Watch the trailer for Trump’s Showdown now.

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