Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe said in interview excerpts aired Thursday that he worried that investigations into US President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice would be shut down after Trump fired FBI director James Comey.
According to CBS, which conducted the interview, McCabe said Justice Department officials discussed bringing the Cabinet together to consider using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
“There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” said Scott Pelley of CBS News, who interviewed McCabe for the network’s “60 Minutes.”
The full interview will air on Sunday.
“And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president,” Pelley added.
McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s ire, described in the interview that he was greatly alarmed by the possibility that the president “might have won the White House with the aid of the government of Russia.” He said he assembled his investigators the day after his boss, Comey, was fired to discuss how to keep the investigations moving forward in the event he was fired or reassigned.
“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion,” McCabe said. “That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”
“I was speaking to the man who had just … won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia." Former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe, Sunday on 60 Minutes. https://t.co/IVwcM11BGc pic.twitter.com/m6HwHMOqY9
— 60 Minutes (@60Minutes) February 14, 2019
McCabe was fired from the FBI last year after the Justice Department inspector general concluded that he had lied during an internal investigation into a news media disclosure. The allegations, which McCabe has denied, have been referred for investigation to the US Attorney’s office in Washington. McCabe blasted his firing as part of the Trump administration’s “war on the FBI” and special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation
Of his actions after Comey’s firing, McCabe added: “I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision.”
According to Pelley, McCabe was told by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein multiple times that he would be willing to secretly record a meeting with Trump.
The New York Times reported in September that Rosenstein had made such a suggestion as part of an effort to declare Trump constitutionally unfit for office. Rosenstein subsequently denied ever floating such an idea.
“It came up more than once and it was so serious that [McCabe] took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it,” Pelley said of Rosenstein’s alleged offer.
Trump responded on Twitter Thursday to news reports of the interview, saying, “Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a ‘poor little Angel’ when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax – a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating.”
Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax – a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating. Part of “insurance policy” in case I won….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2019
The Justice Department also issued a statement saying that “based on [McCabe’s] personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”
McCabe has a book out next week, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” about his time in the FBI.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.