National Security

FBI developed plan to save Russia evidence after Comey firing: report

FBI officials enacted a plan to save evidence gathered in the agency’s probe of Russia’s election interference and the Trump campaign in 2017 after President Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

A source with knowledge of the discussions at the top of the FBI told The Associated Press that Andrew McCabe, then the deputy FBI director, ordered officials to preserve information obtained as part of the investigation in the event that McCabe or other officials were fired by the president in the wake of Comey’s ouster.

{mosads}That source told the AP that a plan was created to preserve the evidence after McCabe became acting FBI director, and a second source confirmed to the AP that FBI officials discussed preserving evidence during that time so as to avoid the investigation being stifled by the president’s actions.

The report comes after McCabe told “60 Minutes” in an interview over the weekend that he worked to ensure that the Russia probe would endure beyond his possible firing by Trump after his appointment to acting FBI director.

“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion. That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace,” McCabe told CBS News.

“I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision,” he continued.

McCabe added during his interview with CBS that the president “may have committed” a crime by firing Comey, which he suggested could constitute obstruction of justice.

“And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia’s malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, “Why would a president of the United States do that?” McCabe told CBS.

Trump has frequently denounced the special counsel investigation headed by Robert Mueller as a “witch hunt” tainted by political bias, while the probe has ensnared a number of his former advisers and aides in criminal charges.

In recent weeks, the president has also turned increasing attention to McCabe, who was fired from the FBI after internal watchdogs reported he made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” McCabe, who is promoting a new book called “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” has sharply denied the claims, saying he was fired to discredit him as a witness.

Tags Andrew McCabe Donald Trump James Comey Robert Mueller

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