WASHINGTON ― Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Thursday that he was “very clear” with eight key members of Congress that the FBI had opened an investigation into President Donald Trump in the days after president fired former FBI Director James Comey.
“I was very clear describing the steps that we had taken and the reasons for those steps,” McCabe said Thursday, of his May 17 meeting with the so-called Gang of Eight. “I am confident that everyone in the room knew exactly what we were doing.”
McCabe has been on the media circuit this week in connection with his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. He sat down with a number of reporters who cover the Justice Department on Thursday morning to discuss his book and his role in the ongoing special counsel investigation being led by Robert Mueller.
McCabe elaborated on his meeting with the Gang of Eight in which he informed them of the span of the Russia probe, including the ongoing investigations of four Trump associates as well as the opening of an investigation of Trump. He previously said that “no one objected” when he informed the group of the opening of the probe into Trump. The meeting took place the same day that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel.
“We felt as a result of the president’s actions and his words ― and culminating with the firing of Jim Comey and the comments that he made [in] the press in the days that followed ― we felt that at that point we had the requisite predication to open an investigation specifically on the president,” McCabe said. He said they were concerned both that a violation of federal law might have occurred, and that there might be a threat to national security.
McCabe played pivotal roles in the two investigations that swirled around the 2016 presidential campaign: the much-discussed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email while she was secretary of state, and the then-secretive investigation into the Trump campaign’s potential involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 election. He prepared memos on his conversations with Trump that were subsequently provided to Mueller’s team.
McCabe was fired in March 2018, just hours before his official retirement date. A Justice Department inspector general report ― the conclusion of which McCabe disputes ― found that McCabe lacked candor about authorizing a subordinate to talk to the press for a story during the 2016 campaign.
His attorney, Michael Bromwich, confirmed Thursday that McCabe remains under investigation by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia following a referral from the Justice Department inspector general. Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general himself, said that his team was in “continuing communication with” federal prosecutors.
McCabe said Thursday that Republicans on Capitol Hill were engaged in a “consistent and obvious attempt” to protect the president by undermining law enforcement. McCabe, a Republican for most of his life, no longer identifies with the party.
“I can’t imagine voting for a Republican candidate right now,” McCabe said in response to a question from HuffPost.