The number of contacts by members of President Donald Trump’s circle with “our most serious ... international enemy” is “remarkable,” and the indications of troubling relationships with Russia are “incredibly persuasive,” former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe said in an interview aired Monday.
“I don’t know that we have ever seen in all of history an example of the number, the volume and the significance of the contacts between people in and around the president, his campaign, with our most serious, our existential international enemy: the government of Russia,” McCabe said on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”
“That’s just remarkable to me,” he noted.
It was another troubling disclosure by McCabe, who accused Trump in an interview Sunday on “60 Minutes” of heeding advice from Russian President Vladimir Putin to dismiss warnings from U.S. intelligence officials about North Korea’s missile capabilities. He discussed the same situation on NPR. He said he had sent his representatives to brief the president and was surprised to learn about how the president reacted.
“This is beyond just getting the attention of a busy and maybe distracted president,” he noted. “This is, how do we impart wisdom and knowledge and the best of our intelligence assessments to someone who chooses to believe our adversaries over our intelligence professionals?”
Though he refused to express a conclusion on suspected Kremlin collusion by Trump or his advisers, McCabe said evidence uncovered by special counsel Robert Mueller is “incredibly persuasive.” He pointed to an August 2016 meeting between former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Konstantin Kilimnik. The FBI has linked Kilimnik to Russian intelligence.
The 20-year FBI veteran was fired by the Trump administration last year after he was accused of a “lack of candor” in a media leak investigation unrelated to the Mueller investigation into suspected Russian interference in favor of the Trump campaign.
Trump in a tweet Monday attacked “so many lies” in McCabe’s “60 Minutes” interview. McCabe’s new book about his experiences, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, will be released Tuesday.