Official: FBI increasing focus on domestic terror threats
McCabe: No one in 'Gang of Eight' objected to FBI probe into Trump
Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe 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 Trump.
"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 Rosenstein before moving forward.
"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 Comey. 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 McConnell (R-Ky.), then-Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (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.