In a conversation on NBC’s “Today” show, Andrew McCabe, the former FBI Deputy Director, revealed that the FBI briefed congressional leaders on its counterintelligence investigation into President Trump in the days after the President fired James Comey. At that time, congressional leaders, known as the ‘Gang of 8’, had no objections to the investigation.
McCabe said, “the purpose of the briefing was to let our congressional leadership know exactly what we’d been doing.” He outlined the difficulties that the FBI faced in opening a case of this scale and magnitude. “Opening a case of this nature [is] not something that an FBI Director, not something that an acting FBI Director [can] do by yourself,” he explained. For that reason, McCabe says that he reviewed the case with lawyers, discussed it with the Deputy Attorney General and decided to inform congressional leaders on the case.
NBC’s Today host Savannah Guthrie interjected, “did anyone object?”
“That’s the important part here,” McCabe replied, “no one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on fact.”
McCabe’s comments shed light on Trump’s public attacks on investigators. The President has accused the FBI of “treason” and called the counterintelligence investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government “an illegal coup attempt on the President of the United States.”
McCabe’s revelations indicate that at the time neither Paul Ryan nor Mitch McConnell, who were both among the ‘Gang of 8’ briefed on the FBI investigation, had any legal or constitutional concerns over the FBI’s conduct. No senior Republican congressional figure raised any concerns over the legality of the investigation. This is because there is no legal ground for a challenge.
Watch a segment from McCabe’s NBC interview below.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 19, 2019
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Oliver is a UK-born freelance writer and journalist based in Boston. He is a self-confessed politics junkie with a passion for foreign and environmental policy. His work has been featured on Open Democracy, International Policy Digest, and the London Economic. He was a regular contributor for ASEAN Today.