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Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe worries Rosenstein exit would put Russia probe 'at risk'

Key Points
  • Former FBI No. 2 Andrew McCabe says Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's potential departure could jeopardize the Russia investigation. 
  • McCabe denies providing the information that fueled an explosive New York Times report about Rosenstein last week. 
  • Rosenstein oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. 
(L-R) Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe other law enforcement officials hold a news conference to announce an 'international cybercrime enforcement action' at the Department of Justice July 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. 
Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI No. 2 ousted earlier this year, said Monday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's reported departure could imperil special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Multiple reports Monday said Rosenstein was summoned to the White House and could be on his way out of the Justice Department. Stories conflicted about whether he plans to resign or would force the White House to fire him.

The rumblings about Rosenstein's departure follow explosive reports last week that he discussed President Donald Trump's possible removal via the 25th Amendment following Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey last year. The New York Times first reported the story, citing sources briefed on the events or on memos written by FBI officials including McCabe.

In a statement Monday, McCabe said he "had no role in providing information of any kind to the media stories about events following Director Comey's firing." The director's ouster led to Rosenstein overseeing the probe into Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election and the deputy attorney general's appointment of Mueller.

"If the rumors of Deputy AG's Rosenstein's departure are true, I am deeply concerned that it puts that investigation at risk," McCabe said.

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Conflicting reports swirl on Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein's fate

Rosenstein's departure would raise the possibility of Trump appointing a successor who could end the Russia investigation. Mueller is in part looking into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 election and whether the president obstructed justice by firing Comey.

If Rosenstein departs, Solicitor General Noel Francisco would take over supervision of the Russia probe.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March, two days before he was set to retire. McCabe reportedly turned over a memo to Mueller about Comey's firing.