McCabe says Republicans 'mischaracterized' testimony to bolster Nunes memo

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTen post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Electronic surveillance isn't spying — it's much more powerful Barr testimony opens new partisan fight over FBI spying on Trump MORE on Friday accused Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee of having "mischaracterized" his testimony used to bolster a controversial memo alleging surveillance abuses by FBI and Justice Department officials.

McCabe, who was fired Friday as the No. 2 FBI official, told CNN that information from an opposition research dossier on President TrumpDonald John TrumpButtigieg on Mueller report: 'Politically, I'm not sure it will change much' Sarah Sanders addresses false statements detailed in Mueller report: 'A slip of the tongue' Trump to visit Japan in May to meet with Abe, new emperor MORE's ties to Russia did not comprise the "majority" of information for the FBI's request to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

"We started the investigations without the dossier. We were proceeding with the investigations before we ever received that information," McCabe told CNN. "Was the dossier material important to the package? Of course, it was. As was every fact included in that package. Was it the majority of what was in the package? Absolutely not."

ADVERTISEMENT

A memo released by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee in early February said McCabe told the committee that "no surveillance warrant would have been sought" were it not for the information from the dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. The memo said the dossier information was "essential" in acquiring the warrants to monitor Page.

McCabe told CNN his testimony was "selectively quoted" and "mischaracterized" to bolster GOP claims that the Steele dossier was the key to obtaining a surveillance warrant on Page. 

Republicans have blasted the Steele dossier, calling it unreliable because it was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton campaign chief: Mueller report 'lays out a devastating case' against Trump Hillicon Valley: Cyber, tech takeaways from Mueller report | Millions of Instagram passwords exposed internally by Facebook | DHS unrolling facial recognition tech in airports | Uber unveils new safety measures after student's killing Heavily redacted Mueller report leaves major questions unanswered MORE's campaign.

The memo, drafted by staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesTen post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Schiff, Nunes pressed DOJ for Mueller briefing The Hill's Morning Report - Mueller report will dominate this week MORE (R-Calif.), did state conclusively that the investigation into whether Trump campaign officials had improper contacts with Russia began with information related to George PapadopoulosGeorge Demetrios PapadopoulosGeorge Papadopoulos urges Barr to investigate examples of 'spying' while he was campaign aide Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators Rand Paul blocks resolution calling for release of Mueller report MORE, the Trump campaign foreign policy aide who last year pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators about his foreign contacts.

The New York Times previously reported that Papadopoulos bragged to an Australian diplomat that Russians had damaging information on Clinton before the hack of the DNC became publicly known. The Australian government then reportedly tipped off the FBI to what Papadopoulos had said.

McCabe was fired Friday evening by Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller report shows how Trump aides sought to protect him and themselves Trump: 'I could have fired everyone' on Mueller team if I wanted to Five takeaways from Mueller's report MORE, who said that the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility and Office of the Inspector General had found McCabe made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and "lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions."

"Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately," Sessions said in a statement.