McCabe: Trump May Have Committed Crime 02/19 06:49
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired
Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired
the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his
campaign's ties to Russia.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an
interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when
President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly
undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia.
McCabe also said in the interview with "60 Minutes" that the FBI had good
reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in
league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat,
following the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
"And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired
the director of the of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our
investigation of Russia's malign activity and possibly in support of his
campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, "Why
would a president of the United States do that?" McCabe said.
He added: "So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder is there an
inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most
fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?"
Asked whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was onboard with the
obstruction and counterintelligence investigations, McCabe replied,
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment Sunday night.
McCabe also revealed that when Trump told Rosenstein to put in writing his
concerns with Comey --- a document the White House initially held up as
justification for his firing --- the president explicitly asked the Justice
Department official to reference Russia in the memo. Rosenstein did not want
to, McCabe said, and the memo that was made public upon Comey's dismissal did
not mention Russia and focused instead on Comey's handling of the Hillary
Clinton email server investigation.
"He explained to the president that he did not need Russia in his memo,"
McCabe said. "And the president responded, "I understand that, I am asking you
to put Russia in the memo anyway."
Trump said in a TV interview days after Comey's firing that he was thinking
of "this Russia thing" when he fired Comey.
Those actions, including a separate request by Trump that the FBI end an
investigation into his first national adviser, Michael Flynn, made the FBI
concerned that the president was illegally trying to obstruct the Russia probe.
"Put together, these circumstances were articulable facts that indicated
that a crime may have been committed," McCabe said. "The president may have
been engaged in obstruction of justice in the firing of Jim Comey."
McCabe was fired from the Justice Department last year after being accused
of misleading investigators during an internal probe into a news media
disclosure. The allegation was referred to the U.S. Attorney's office in
Washington for possible prosecution, but no charges have been brought. McCabe
has denied having intentionally lied and said Sunday that he believes his
firing was politically motivated.
"I believe I was fired because I opened a case against the president of the
United States," he said.
In the interview Sunday, McCabe also said Rosenstein in the days after
Comey's firing had proposed wearing a wire to secretly record the president.
McCabe said he took the remark seriously, though the Justice Department last
September --- responding last September to a New York Times report that first
revealed the conversation --- issued a statement from an unnamed official who
was in the room and interpreted the remark as sarcastic.
McCabe said the remark was made during a conversation about why Trump had
"And in the context of that conversation, the deputy attorney general
offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, "'I never get searched
when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They
wouldn't know it was there,'" McCabe said.
In excerpts released last week by CBS News, McCabe also described a
conversation in which Rosenstein had broached the idea of invoking the
Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The Justice
Department said in a statement that Rosenstein, based on his dealings with
Trump, does not see cause to seek the removal of the president.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who is seeking her party's
nomination for president, told reporters after a campaign event Sunday in Las
Vegas that if the people around Trump believe he cannot fulfill the obligations
of his office, then they have a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment.
A favorite target of Trump's ire, Warren said she has no special knowledge
on whether there are grounds to remove Trump from office but said that "there
are a whole lot of people who do see him every day who evidently were talking
about invoking the 25th Amendment."