WATCH: McCabe's 'problems' didn't start with House Intel testimony, Gowdy says


Gowdy, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a key member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the Justice Department's inspector general was pursuing McCabe well before the No. 2 FBI official testified before the Intelligence panel in late December.

"I would be very careful not to believe that Andy McCabe's problems began when he spoke to the House Intel Committee; I can tell you for a fact that the [inspector general] was looking in on that fact pattern before he ever set foot in [that] space, so I would be very reluctant to believe that,” Gowdy told The Hill in an interview.

McCabe’s testimony before the House Intelligence Committee as part of its Russia probe was cited by the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a controversial report released in early February alleging that senior FBI and Justice Department officials improperly secured surveillance warrants on a former Trump campaign adviser. 
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McCabe said after his firing last Friday that he was ousted as part of an effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, of which he is a potential witness. He said the Justice Department's inspector general accelerated a portion of its review concerning him after his appearance before the House Intelligence Committee.

"I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of [former FBI Director] James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President," McCabe said in a statement.
 
At least one Democrat would like to see the internal documents used to justify firing McCabe, a more than 20-year veteran of the FBI, just two days before he was set to retire.
 
Attorney General Jeff Sessions cited a report from the Justice Department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, and findings by the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) when firing McCabe last week.
 
"Transparency is always better than not. It certainly looks incredibly mean-spirited and just despicable,” Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) said in an interview with The Hill.

Gowdy, however, was unsure if the FBI could release a personnel report without McCabe’s approval or request.

"I don't know what the protocol is. I don't know if there's confidentiality concerns, I've never seen an OPR report released, but you'll get Horowitz's report which will help you,” Gowdy said.

Still, lawmakers are looking for answers on McCabe's firing, with one Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee saying the ouster looked ominous.

"I don't think there's any evidence that McCabe did anything illegal … he was doing his job he was following his investigations, and he got crosshairs with the president," Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.) said.

Click on the video above to hear the lawmakers in their own words.