In an interview to air on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, February 17, former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told correspondent Scott Pelley that he briefly discussed invoking the 25th Amendment with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
The full transcript of that part of the interview, released Friday, follows:
ANDREW MCCABE: Discussion of the 25th Amendment was, was simply Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort.
SCOTT PELLEY: Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president.
MCCABE: That’s correct. Counting votes or possible votes.
PELLEY: What seemed to be coursing through the mind of the deputy attorney general was getting rid of the president of the United States–
PELLEY: –One way or another.
MCCABE: I can’t confirm that. But what I can say is the deputy attorney general was definitely very concerned about the president, about his capacity and about his intent at that point in time.
PELLEY: How did he bring up the idea of the 25th Amendment to you?
MCCABE: Honestly, I don’t remember. He– it was just another kinda topic that he jumped to in the midst of– of– of a wide-ranging conversation.
PELLEY: Seriously? (LAUGH) Just—
MCCABE : –Yeah–
PELLEY: –Another topic
In a preview of the interview on “CBS This Morning” Thursday, Pelley described what was discussed in the interview. “There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” he said.
“They were counting noses,” Pelley explained. “Not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing [him]. But they were speculating, ‘This person would be with us. That person would not be.’ They were counting noses in that effort.”
McCabe’s spokesperson, Melissa Schwartz, said in a statement to CBS News’ Paula Reid on Friday that “at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.”
“He was present and participated in a discussion that included a comment by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein regarding the 25th Amendment,” Schwartz said, but she added that this anecdote was not included in his book.
The Justice Department also said in a statement, “As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the [deputy attorney general] in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
With reporting by Paula Reid