Fearing that he would be fired, former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe authorised an investigation into US President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia just one day after meeting the president in May 2017, McCabe told CBS media network in an interview.
Speaking to CBS, McCabe, a frequent target of Trump’s ire, also said Justice Department officials discussed bringing the cabinet together to consider using the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office in the United States.
“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace,” McCabe said, according to excerpts of the interview released by CBS.
“I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage, and that was something that troubled me greatly,” he added.
Trump quickly took to Twitter on Thursday to criticise McCabe, who had taken over as acting FBI director after the president fired former FBI director James Comey.
“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,” Trump wrote.
He went on to lambast McCabe as a “disgrace to the FBI” and a “disgrace to our country”.
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.
‘War on FBI’
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.”
In a statement, the Justice Department said that “based on (McCabe’s) personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment”.
CBS’s interview with McCabe is set to air on Sunday.
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.