Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revealed Thursday that he initiated the obstruction of justice and counterintelligence probes against President Trump in 2017, saying he feared the president had been compromised by Russia.
Mr. McCabe, in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” also said there was talk at the Justice Department of recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove the president from office. He said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein did suggest wearing a wire to gather dirt on the president.
“Trying to use the 25th Amendment to try and circumvent the Election is a despicable act of unconstitutional power grabbing…which happens in third world countries. You have to obey the law. This is an attack on our system & Constitution.” Alan Dershowitz. @TuckerCarlson
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2019
The White House and the Justice Department denounced Mr. McCabe’s allegations, and a key Republican senator said the former G-man will be called before Congress to explain himself and his role in starting investigations into Mr. Trump that continue to this day.
In the interview, Mr. McCabe said he was so troubled by an Oval Office meeting he had with Mr. Trump after the president fired then-FBI Director James B. Comey that he met with Russia investigators the next day.
That conversation led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the allegations.
“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,” Mr. McCabe, who was the FBI’s acting director, said in an interview clip released Thursday.
Scott Pelley, who interviewed Mr. McCabe, said he detailed conversations such as Mr. Rosenstein’s suggestion to wear a wire and use of the 25th Amendment.
“These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president,” Mr. Pelley said.
The Justice Department previously said Mr. Rosenstein was being sarcastic about wearing a wire. On Thursday, the department simply said Mr. Rosenstein “never authorized” the move.
The department also said Mr. Rosenstein does not think there is a reason to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Mr. Trump called Mr. McCabe a “disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our country.
“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,” the president tweeted Thursday morning.
Republicans in both the House and Senate demanded Mr. McCabe appear before lawmakers and explain himself, painting him as part of an anti-Trump cabal that also included fired FBI Agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Mr. McCabe’s interview was more evidence of “bias against President Trump.”
Mr. Trump interviewed Mr. McCabe to be his new permanent FBI director, replacing Mr. Comey, but went a different direction.
Mr. McCabe then took a leave of absence and planned to retire, but then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him before his retirement could take hold, pointing to an inspector general’s finding that Mr. McCabe misled federal investigators. The case against Mr. McCabe was referred to federal prosecutors last year, but it is not clear if criminal charges will be filed.
Mr. McCabe gave the “60 Minutes” interview to promote his book, which is being released next week.
CBS said Mr. McCabe told them that Mr. Rosenstein mentioned wearing a wire to catch the president several times and even met with FBI lawyers to discuss it.
The Justice Department released a statement rebutting that, saying Mr. Rosenstein “never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references.”
“As the deputy attorney general previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment,” the department said.
Mark Meadows, chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, called for Mr. Rosenstein to resign from office Thursday and reappear before Congress and testify in light of Mr. McCabe’s claims.
Mr. Rosenstein testified in June, before the reports of him suggesting a wire and implementing the 25th Amendment surfaced in September. He resisted Republican efforts to bring him to the chamber in late 2018 to discuss the allegations.
“Rod Rosenstein has no business working at the Department of Justice, and if these latest reports are true, he should not only resign immediately but come before Congress and answer questions,” Mr. Meadows tweeted.
Mr. Rosenstein is expected to leave the Justice Department shortly, now that William Barr has been sworn in as attorney general.
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