In his first interview about the Russia probe since he was summarily fired by President Trump just 26 hours before he was set to retire and collect his pension, and while the possibility of criminal charges over his attempts to cover up his leaks to the press, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe sat for an interview with CBS about the early days of the Russia probe.
In an excerpt of the full interview, which is set to air on Sunday, McCabe described how he quickly moved to start the Russia probe a day after meeting with Trump in May 2017 in the days after James Comey’s firing, over fears that he would soon be fired. After authorizing the investigation into Trump’s Russia ties, McCabe sought to ensure that the investigation – which was eventually rolled into the probe eventually taken over by Special Counsel Robert Mueller – would be on “solid ground” even if he was booted from the FBI.
“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 told CBS.
The interview marked the first time McCabe has ever opened up about his thought process when he launched the probe. In his recounting of his conversation with President Trump, McCabe said he felt intimidated by the president.
“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,” McCabe said in an excerpt aired on CBS on Thursday. “And that was something that troubled me greatly.”
He compared Trump’s request that McCabe allow him to visit the FBI – a visit that McCabe suggest would have been well outside the bounds of decorum – to tactics used by Russian mobsters that McCabe had once prosecuted.
“In this moment, I felt the way I’d felt in 1998, in a case involving the Russian Mafia, when I sent a man I’ll call Big Felix in to meet with a Mafia boss named Dimitri Gufield,” McCabe wrote. “The same kind of thing was happening here, in the Oval Office. Dimitri had wanted Felix to endorse his protection scheme. This is a dangerous business, and it’s a bad neighborhood, and you know, if you want, I can protect you from that. If you want my protection. I can protect you. Do you want my protection? The president and his men were trying to work me the way a criminal brigade would operate.”
Of course, nobody in the mainstream press has pointed out that the timing of McCabe’s decision to launch the probe would suggest that he was looking for leverage to stop him from being fired along with Comey…though, thanks to his decision to lie to the DOJ’s inspector general, that problem swiftly took care of itself.
He also admitted that he launched the investigation without any actual evidence…just partisan hackery.
so in other words the head of the @FBI is confessing publicly he assumed Trump was guilty without any evidence and started an investigation for no reason but partisan hackery …… and saw nothing Hillary did as suspicious
— Dividend Master (@DividendMaster) February 14, 2019
In a discussion about the interview, McCabe’s interviewer Scott Pelley said McCabe affirmed that there had been discussions about invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump – something that was the subject of a series of leaks last year about a plot allegedly concocted by Rod Rosenstein.
.@ScottPelley on what McCabe told @60Minutes: “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.” pic.twitter.com/iVAyrEV4MF
— Norah O’Donnell🇺🇸 (@NorahODonnell) February 14, 2019
The full interview will air Sunday night at 7 pm. But CBS has published an excerpt below: