The FBI’s Acting Director Just Debunked Trump’s Absurd Excuse To Fire James Comey
President Donald Trump has claimed that his reason for firing FBI Director James Comey was because the FBI’s rank and file “had lost confidence in their director.” However, that is not true, according to Andrew McCabe’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday
McCabe, the acting Director of the FBI, refuted Trump’s claim that he fired FBI Director James Comey because the FBI’s rank and file “had lost confidence in their director.”
“In your opinion, is it accurate that the FBI rank and file no longer supported Director Comey?” Democratic Sen. Heinrich asked McCabe on Thursday.
“No, sir, that is not accurate,” McCabe replied.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Wednesday that the White House had “heard from countless members of the FBI” that they had lost confidence in Comey.
“In fact, the President will be meeting with Acting Director McCabe later today to discuss that very thing — the morale at the FBI — as well as make an offer to go directly to the FBI if he feels that that’s necessary and appropriate.”
McCabe categorically debunked that assessment on Thursday.
“Working with Director Comey was the honor of my life … I can confidently tell you that the vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive relationship with Director Comey,” he said, adding that he has “the highest respect” for Comey.
McCabe also called the FBI probe into Russian interference in the election “highly significant,” contradicting the White House assertion that it was a low priority for the bureau.
The Senate hearing featured testimony from six witnesses, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers. They were asked to provide a “c comprehensive overview of the current and projected national security threats to the United States and our national interests.”
The hearing follows Trump’s firing of Comey, which made McCabe the FBI’s acting director — and the Senate’s star witness.
Senators Richard Burr and Mark Warner, the chairman and ranking member of the committee, unexpectedly stepped out of the hearing roughly two hours after it began to meet with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and US Attorney Dana Boente in a Senate Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), CNN reported.
Rosenstein threatened to resign on Wednesday because he was angry the White House had used him as a fall guy to justify their dismissal of Comey.
Warner used his opening statement at the hearing to seek assurances from McCabe that he would inform the committee if the White House tried to “squash” the bureau’s Russia probe, “or impede it any way.” He also condemned Trump’s “shocking” decision to fire Comey, the timing of which he called “especially troubling.”
“He was leading an active counterintelligence investigation into any links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government or its representatives, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia’s efforts to interfere in our election,” Warner said. “For many people, including myself, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the President’s decision to remove Director Comey was related to this investigation. And that is unacceptable.”
Trump wrote a letter to Comey on Tuesday informing him that he was fired, noting in the second paragraph that he “greatly appreciate[s] you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation.”
“Is it your experience that people” who haven’t done anything wrong need “assurance that they’re not under investigation?” Sen. Heinrich asked McCabe, referring to Trump’s letter to Comey.
“No, sir,” McCabe replied.
When asked whether the FBI’s morale had been affected by the 2016 election, McCabe replied that “morale has always been good.”
Sen. Harris asked McCabe later if he supported the idea of appointing “a special prosecutor” to move forward with the FBI’s investigation into Trump and Russia. McCabe replied that that was “a question for the Department of Justice.”
“It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment,” he said.