President Trump took aim at the FBI and the Department of Justice during a rally in Springfield, Mo., on Friday night, vowing to “get rid of” what he described as “a lingering stench” at the agencies.
His remarks came amid reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year suggested secretly recording Trump to expose chaos in the White House and enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
Trump at the rally did not specifically mention Rosenstein, who has adamantly denied the accusations.
“Just look at what is now being exposed in our Department of Justice and the FBI. Look at what’s going on,” Trump said. “And I want to tell you, we have great people in the Department of Justice. We have great people. These are people, I really believe, you take a poll, I gotta be at 95 percent. But you got some real bad ones. You’ve seen what’s happened at the FBI. They’re all gone. They’re all gone. They’re all gone. But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too.”
Trump was in Missouri in support of state Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican who is attempting to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, a Democrat.
Trump said that Hawley was needed in the Senate “to fight for Missouri” and the “whole country” because the Republican Party would “never, ever get a vote” from McCaskill, including on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
“Brett Kavanaugh, fantastic man. She just announced she won’t vote for him,” Trump said of McCaskill. “He was born for the U.S. Supreme Court. He was born for it. And it’s going to happen. It’s going to happen. But she just announced, she’s not voting … and she’ll vote against everything we want to do.”
McCaskill tweeted Wednesday night that she would not vote for Kavanaugh. In her message, she explicitly wrote that his legal rulings and ideology — and not the allegations by Christine Blasey Ford — were the reason for her decision.
Ford alleged that Kavanaugh forced himself onto her and covered her mouth in the 1980s, when Kavanaugh was 17 and she was 15.
The president also said that “a vote for Claire McCaskill” was one in favor of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
Trump also slammed Democrats, calling them “dangerous” and “crazy,” noting that some have called to abolish U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
“And they aren’t just extreme, they are frankly dangerous and they are crazy. They’re crazy,” Trump said. “Democrats want to abolish ICE. In other words, they want to abolish immigration enforcement entirely. Let violent, sadistic gangs like MS-13, the worst gang in the world, run wild in our communities.”
“I’ve seen our guys from ICE. I’ve seen it. I’ve watched it. MS-13, they’re tough but they’re not tough like our guys. They’re not tough like our ICE people,” Trump continued.
Trump won Missouri during the 2016 presidential election, defeating opponent Hillary Clinton there by double digits.
The president has previously campaigned for and endorsed Hawley in the state’s U.S. Senate race, telling an audience over the summer, “We need Josh badly.”
In a June tweet, he dubbed McCaskill “so phony” for her use of a private plane for two of the three days of her supposed campaign RV tour.
“Senator Claire McCaskill of the GREAT State of Missouri flew around in a luxurious private jet during her RV tour of the state,” Trump wrote. “RV’s are not for her. People are really upset, so phony! Josh Hawley should win big, and has my full endorsement.”
For her part, McCaskill reportedly acknowledged that she had used a private plane, but insisted she had not used office funds and made no apologies for taking trips to see her constituents.
Fox News’ Gregg Re, Brooke Singman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.