President Trump on Tuesday slammed ex-FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, urging Republicans not to let him “get away with totally criminal activity” as the former official testified virtually before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
“Republicans, don’t let Andrew McCabe continue to get away with totally criminal activity,” Trump tweeted, as the hearing began. “What he did should never be allowed to happen to our Country again.”
He added: “FIGHT FOR JUSTICE!”
McCabe testified virtually as part of the committee’s investigation into the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.
McCabe was in a leadership position at the FBI when the bureau opened the “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation – the internal code name for their investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign coordinated or colluded with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“We did not open a case because we intended to stage a coup or overthrow the government,” McCabe said in his opening statement. “We opened a case to find out how the Russians might be undermining our elections.”
He added: “We opened a case because it was our obligation – our duty – to do so.”
In 2018, the Justice Department inspector general’s report faulted McCabe for leaking information to then-Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett for an Oct. 30, 2016, story titled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” The story, written just days before the presidential election, focused on the FBI announcing the reopening of the Clinton investigation after finding thousands of her emails on a laptop belonging to former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was then married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The Journal's account of the call said a senior Justice Department official expressed displeasure to McCabe that FBI agents were still looking into the Clinton Foundation, and that McCabe had defended the agent's authority to pursue the issue.
That leak confirmed the existence of the probe, the report said, which then-FBI Director James Comey had up to that point refused to do.
The report said McCabe "lacked candor" in a conversation with Comey when he said he had not authorized the disclosure and didn't know who had done so. The IG also found that he lacked candor when questioned by FBI agents on multiple occasions since that conversation.
McCabe served at the FBI for 21 years. He became the acting director in May 2017 after President Trump fired Comey.
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018 after the inspector general found he had repeatedly misstated his involvement in the leak to The Journal regarding an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
Throughout the investigation, McCabe denied any wrongdoing and said the inspector general’s conclusions relied on mischaracterizations and omissions, including information favorable to McCabe.
In February, the Justice Department said it would not pursue criminal charges against McCabe after the nearly two-year investigation into accusations included in the inspector general’s report.