McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeTrump accuses Hillary Clinton of 'destroying the lives' of his campaign staffers The Mueller report concludes it was not needed Ten post-Mueller questions that could turn the tables on Russia collusion investigators MORE said Tuesday that none of the top eight congressional leaders objected when he briefed them in 2017 on the bureau's decision to open a counterintelligence investigation into President TrumpDonald John TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign MORE.

"The purpose of the briefing was to let our congressional leadership know exactly what we’d been doing," McCabe, who was the acting FBI director at the time, said during an interview on NBC's "Today" show.

McCabe acknowledged that he ordered the investigation, but pushed back against suggestions that he'd acted alone in doing so. He said that he consulted with his team, reviewed it with bureau lawyers and discussed it with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinJake Tapper fact-checks poster Trump admin created describing Mueller investigation Jeffrey Rosen officially sworn in as deputy attorney general Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller MORE before moving forward.

ADVERTISEMENT

"And I told Congress what we had done," he said.

"No one objected," he added in the interview. "Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on the facts."

The New York Times first reported last month that the FBI launched an inquiry into whether Trump was working for Russia after the president fired former bureau chief James ComeyJames Brien ComeyAttorney General Barr puts former intel bosses on notice Christopher Steele's nugget of fool's gold was easily disproven — but FBI didn't blink an eye Clash with Trump marks latest break with GOP leaders for Justin Amash MORE. McCabe took over as acting director after Comey's ouster.

The "Gang of Eight" consists of the top two leaders from each party in each chamber of Congress. Representatives around the time of the 2017 meeting would have included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Chances for disaster aid deal slip amid immigration fight MORE (R-Ky.), then-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.), Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerNo agreement on budget caps in sight ahead of Memorial Day recess Ex-White House photographer roasts Trump: 'This is what a cover up looked like' under Obama Pelosi: Trump 'is engaged in a cover-up' MORE (D-N.Y.) and then-House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' MORE (D-Calif.).

McCabe has been on a media blitz in recent days ahead of the release of his book. The former deputy FBI director was fired last year after an internal report found he lacked candor in interviews with investigators.

The former FBI official made headlines with a "60 Minutes" interview over the weekend in which he said there were conversations among Justice Department officials raising the possibility of removing Trump via the 25th Amendment, and that Rosenstein had offered to wear a wire around the president.

The Justice Department issued a statement in response reiterating Rosenstein's denial of the claim, which the deputy attorney general called "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

McCabe later walked back his remarks, with a spokesperson issuing a statement that he did not "participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions."

Trump and his allies have seized on McCabe's comments to paint the bureau as biased against the president. Trump tweeted on Monday that McCabe was "fired for lying," and suggested he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "look like they were planning a very illegal act."

Rosenstein will reportedly leave his post at the Justice Department in the coming weeks.