One of Donald Trump’s top justice officials has denied discussing how to remove the US president from power by declaring him unfit for office.
Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein branded reports he floated the idea of invoking the 25th amendment against Mr Trump as “inaccurate and factually incorrect”.
Mr Rosenstein was also claimed by the New York Times to have proposed secretly recording the president to expose chaos within the White House.
The justice department official was alleged to have made the suggestions last year, at the time Mr Trump fired FBI director James Comey and sent shockwaves through Washington.
The newspaper reported Mr Rosenstein discussed his ideas in meetings and conversations with other justice department officials and FBI officials.
Mr Rosenstein was also said to have claimed he might be able to persuade his boss, attorney general Jeff Sessions, and John Kelly, then secretary of homeland security and now Mr Trump’s chief of staff, to make a 25th amendment attempt.
Responding to the allegations, Mr Rosenstein said in a statement on Friday: “The New York Times’ story is inaccurate and factually incorrect.
“I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda.
“But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th amendment.”
Under the 25th amendment of the US constitution, a president can have their power removed and transferred to the vice-president.
Members of the president’s cabinet are required to notify Congress they do not believe a president can carry out his or her duties, with powers removed if both houses back their assessment by a two-thirds vote.
Reacting to the New York Times’ report, Mr Trump’s eldest son Donald Trump Jr posted on Twitter: “Shocked!!! Absolutely Shocked!!! Ohhh, who are we kidding at this point? No one is shocked that these guys would do anything in their power to undermine @realdonaldtrump.”
Meanwhile, Chuck Schumer, the Democrat leader in the Senate, warned the claims must not be used “as a pretext for the corrupt purpose” of firing Mr Rosenstein.
He voiced fears the sacking of Mr Rosenstein could come “in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into links between Russia and the Trump election campaign.
Mr Schumer added: “Numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the president without being fired.”
Mr Rosenstein appointed Mr Mueller as a special counsel and oversees his work.
It has previously been claimed Mr Trump might consider firing Mr Rosenstein in order to allow him to put greater limits on Mr Mueller.
Earlier this year, the president publicly denied referring to his deputy attorney general as “Mr Peepers”.
A memo written by Mr Rosenstein, making criticisms of the handling of an FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server, was used by the White House at the time as justification for Mr Comey’s firing.
Last week, Mr Trump’s former campaign chief Paul Manafort agreed to co-operate with Mr Mueller’s investigation as part of a plea deal.