US Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has denied a New York Times report alleging he discussed removing President Donald Trump from office under the 25th Amendment.
Mr Rosenstein said it was “inaccurate and factually incorrect”.
The Times, citing anonymous sources, also said Mr Rosenstein suggested secretly recording Mr Trump to expose chaos in the White House.
The claims relate to the period when Mr Trump fired FBI chief James Comey.
Mr Comey had been overseeing the FBI investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Mr Trump referred to the “Russia thing” when asked why he was removed.
What does the paper allege?
It says Mr Rosenstein discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment, which would allow the removal of the president for being unfit for office.
It also says he suggested secretly recording Mr Trump so that the inner chaos of the White House would be exposed.
The suggestions came during meetings and conversations with justice department and FBI officials, the paper says, citing as sources several people who were either briefed on the events or on memos relating to them and who had insisted on anonymity.
Correspondents say Mr Trump might see the article as vindication of his belief there is a “deep state” seeking to unseat him. But he has also in the past railed at stories, in the New York Times and Washington Post in particular, that tap anonymous sources for their material.
How did Mr Rosenstein respond?
He issued a statement saying: “The New York Times’s 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.”