McCabe will not appear at Senate hearing, citing coronavirus concerns
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Saturday that he will not appear at a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee next week after two of its members tested positive for COVID-19.
McCabe was set to testify in front of the judiciary panel on Tuesday as part of its investigation into the origins of the FBI’s Russia probe but said he felt attending would be tantamount to putting his family at risk after Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who sit on the committee, tested positive.
“Mr. McCabe was still prepared to testify voluntarily and in person on October 6 as recently as the latter part of this past week. However, since that time, it has been reported that at least two members of your Committee – Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis – have tested positive for Covid-19, and it may well be that other members of the Committee and staff who plan to attend the hearing will test positive between now and then, or may have been exposed to the virus and may be a carrier. Under these circumstances, an in-person hearing carries grave safety risks to Mr. McCabe, me, and senators and staff who would attend,” McCabe’s attorney wrote to Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the committee’s chairman.
“Mr. McCabe is willing, able, and eager to testify in person about Crossfire Hurricane at any time in the future when it is safe to do so. But he is not willing to put his family’s health at risk to do so,” he continued. “For these reasons, we are unwilling to appear in person for the October 6 hearing; and for reasons of fairness, we are unwilling to testify remotely. A fair and appropriate hearing of this kind — which is complex and contentious — simply cannot be conducted other than in person.”
Graham has been spearheading an investigation into the FBI’s Russia investigation and former special counsel Robert Mueller’s subsequent inquiry. The investigation is also looking into the courts created by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Mueller’s 22-month probe did not find enough evidence to charge members of the Trump campaign over allegations they coordinated or conspired with Moscow to sway the election in their favor.
Democrats have panned Graham for pushing what they call a partisan investigation intended to boost President Trump in the lead-up to Election Day.
Mueller has declined to testify in the hearing, but former FBI Director James Comey did appear in front of the judiciary panel last week, defending the bureau’s investigation.
“I would say in the main it was done by the book, it was appropriate and it was essential that it be done … There are parts of it that are concerning … but overall I’m proud of the work,” Comey said.