WASHINGTON – Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said congressional leaders — Republicans and Democrats — didn’t object when he informed them in 2017 that the bureau was opening a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump.
“That’s the important part here,” McCabe said in an interview Tuesday on NBC’s “Today Show.” “No one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on the facts.”
McCabe said he briefed those leaders — known as the “Gang of Eight” — about the Trump probe in the days after the president fired FBI director James Comey in May of 2017. McCabe has said officials began the investigation out of concern that Trump may have been colluding with Russia.
The “Gang of Eight” has special clearances to hear classified intelligence information. At that time, it included Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. It also included the top Republicans and Democrats on the House and Senate Intelligence panels.
The lawmakers’ staffs had no immediate response Tuesday to the assertion by McCabe, who is promoting a book defending his time at the FBI and disputing the reasons he was fired just over a day before he was due to retire and collect a pension.
McCabe has said he was present when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein brought up the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record Trump as well as the possibility of invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove the president from office on the grounds he was unfit for office. The Justice Department has disputed McCabe’s depiction of the conversations.
Trump has been tweeting his outrage over McCabe’s assertions, saying on Monday that he and Rosenstein “were planning a very illegal act, and got caught.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham, the Republican chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he intends to subpoena Rosenstein and McCabe for a hearing to explore allegations they discussed ways to remove Trump from office, which Graham described as an attempted “administrative coup.’
On Friday, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to the panel’s Democratic chairman, Jerrold Nadler of New York, asking that the committee request testimony from McCabe and Rosenstein.