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Acting FBI head calls Russia probe 'highly significant'

Acting FBI head calls Russia probe 'highly significant'
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday said the investigation of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the presidential election is “highly significant,” despite claims by the White House that it is one of the "smallest things" happening at the bureau.

“Sir, we consider it to be a highly significant investigation,” McCabe told Sen. Angus KingAngus King'Almost Heaven, West Virginia' — Joe Manchin and a 50-50 Senate Bipartisan group of senators: The election is over Overnight Defense: Biden team voices concern about 'abrupt halt' in Pentagon cooperation | Defense chief pushes back | Lawmakers question whether major cyberattack an act of war MORE (I-Maine) when asked about the White House’s comments on the investigation.

McCabe, who had been serving as Comey's deputy until his firing, said he would not consider the investigation to be one of the smallest things the bureau is working on at this time. 

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McCabe’s comments come one day after White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the Russia probe is one of “the smallest things” the FBI has “going on their plate.”

“I know everybody in this room and probably most of the media around the world would like to think that’s the FBI’s sole responsibility, but that’s probably one of the smallest things that they’ve got going on their plate, and the 20,000 employees that work there,” Sanders said.

“And so he should absolutely have a role in seeing who runs that agency and that department.”

Sanders was responding to a question over whether Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds Sen. Hawley tramples the 2020 vote in his run to 2024 MORE should be involved in choosing a replacement for Comey. Sessions formally recused himself from the FBI’s Russia probe, lead by Comey, due to his role in the Trump campaign and transition.

Trump on Tuesday fired Comey in a signed letter that called for “a new beginning” at the FBI.