A source who was in the room during the meeting at which Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly talked about someone perhaps wearing "a wire" while meeting with President Trump tells Fox News the comment was "sarcastic."
The meeting in question took place at Main DOJ on May 16, 2017. This was one week after FBI Director James Comey was fired by the president, and one day before Special Counsel Mueller investigation was brought in to oversee an inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News has learned that the meeting in question included Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe, then the acting director of the FBI, and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page, among several others.
Fox News' source said: "I remember this meeting and remember the wire comment. The statement was sarcastic and was never discussed with any intention of recording a conversation with the president."
"Andy [McCabe] and the DAG didn't really know each other," said the source, referring to the abbreviation for Rosenstein's post. "They were new to each other."
Rosenstein was sworn in as the deputy attorney general on April 26, 2017, just weeks before the meeting. McCabe has referred to Comey as his mentor and was meeting with Rosenstein, who had penned a memo Trump used, in part, to fire Comey. "Maybe Andy misread the room," said the source. "It was not a serious suggestion."
However, Fox News has also been told by a separate source familiar with McCabe's memos that a New York Times story on Friday about Rosenstein was "accurate," and that it was McCabe's thinking that Rosenstein's words were not made in jest.
The Times' bombshell report said Rosenstein had suggested recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House, enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president.
Some DOJ insiders pointed to McCabe as the source of the Times story, saying these were the "desperate actions" of a man under federal investigation.
Fox News has reported that McCabe is under investigation by the U,S, Attorney's Office. Federal prosecutors have impaneled a grand jury to investigate former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe following the Department of Justice inspector general’s report alleging that McCabe approved a media disclosure to advance his personal interests.
Fox News' Jeffrey Rubin contributed to this report.