Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeBrendan Gleeson lands Trump role in CBS miniseries based on Comey memoir Judge tells DOJ to charge McCabe or drop investigation McCabe says he would 'absolutely not' cut a deal with prosecutors MORE has unleashed a series of bombshell allegations against President TrumpDonald John TrumpBusiness school deans call for lifting country-specific visa caps Bolton told ex-Trump aide to call White House lawyers about Ukraine pressure campaign: report Federal prosecutors in New York examining Giuliani business dealings with Ukraine: report MORE in recent days as he promotes his new book, "The Threat."

McCabe, who was fired over an unauthorized media leak shortly before he was set to retire, made his most startling statement yet on Tuesday night when he said it was “possible” that the president was a Russian asset.

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The enmity between Trump and McCabe is no secret. Trump has repeatedly ripped the former FBI official, who was fired hours before he would have been eligible for a full pension. Trump has resumed his Twitter attacks on the former acting FBI director, declaring his actions to be “treason.”

Here are five takeaways from McCabe’s recent claims:

Allegations offer Dems fresh ammunition

Democrats already eager to investigate Trump have seized on McCabe’s statements, and suggest they may want to hear from him.

Besides claiming that Trump may be a Russian asset, McCabe also disclosed new details about a plot to use the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office that he said was discussed by Justice Department officials including Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Mueller rejoins DC law firm Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it MORE — who has strongly disputed McCabe’s account.

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsSunday shows - Second whistleblower grabs spotlight House Democrat: Trump 'dangerously abused his oath of office' Democrats are 'giddy over' impeachment inquiry, Republican says MORE (D-Fla.), a member of the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees, which are both set to begin investigations, told The Hill that she thinks lawmakers will “certainly have to” hear from all involved, including McCabe and Rosenstein.

She said both panels need to talk to McCabe in order to have “a thorough investigation that really gets to the truth.”

Another explosive claim McCabe makes is that the FBI informed top congressional leaders, including Republican leaders Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellFury over Trump Syria decision grows Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump to slap sanctions on Turkey for Syria offensive | Trump calls on Turkey to broker ceasefire | Pelosi, Graham seek deal on sanctions | Ex-Trump aide testifies in impeachment probe Trump: Let Assad, Russia or China protect the Kurds MORE (Ky.) and then-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (Wis.), that there was enough concern about the president’s actions to merit an investigation from within his own administration — a move he says received no objections.

If true, that means the bipartisan Gang of Eight gave a congressional green light for the FBI top open the a counterintelligence investigation into Trump.

“I certainly would be interested in hearing from [McCabe and Rosenstein] with regards to their interactions with the president, what he told them to do,” Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiTrump's cruelty toward immigrants weakens rather than strengthens America Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — Federal judge blocks Trump from detaining migrant children indefinitely | Health officials tie vaping-related illnesses to 'Dank Vapes' brand | Trump to deliver health care speech in Florida Overnight Health Care — Presented by Better Medicare Alliance — More than 800 cases of vaping illnesses reported to CDC | House panel asks e-cigarette companies to stop advertising | Senate Dems to force vote on Trump health care rule MORE (D-Ill.), a House Judiciary and Intelligence committee member, told The Hill.

All of this could lead to some explosive days of testimony on Capitol Hill — and high political theater — if McCabe or Rosenstein are called by Democrats to testify.

McCabe’s own credibility is coming into question

Would McCabe be a good witness? That’s far from clear.

Trump and Republicans cast him as a politically motivated and calculating official — who now has a reason to stretch the truth to seek revenge.

“You can’t trust anything Andy McCabe says,” Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel Jordan10 top Republicans who continue to deny the undeniable Ex-Trump aide to tell Congress she objected to Ukrainian ambassador's removal: report A Republican Watergate veteran's perspective on a Trump impeachment MORE (R-Ohio), ranking member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told Fox Business on Tuesday.

“He wants everyone to believe he is a Boy Scout but he lied three times under oath, he is under investigation by the Justice Department, he was fired because he lied. And what did he lie about? He lied about the leaks that he did to certain newspapers to make himself look better during the Clinton investigation,” Jordan said.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz last year issued a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney's Office in D.C. about McCabe, a point Republicans have highlighted. McCabe’s lawyer has called the referral unjustified.

Trump as Russian asset becomes cable news fodder

McCabe’s book tour hasn’t been welcome for a White House having a painful beginning to 2019.

Even if some doubt McCabe’s statements, the headlines and cable news chyrons of him stating that it’s possible Trump is a Russian asset don’t represent a story the White House wants to spend time battling down.

Networks where criticism of Trump is routine have doubled down on the McCabe coverage this week, but even Fox has seized on the news for its own coverage. At least there, hosts like Sean Hannity and Lou Dobbs have railed against McCabe and his allegations, labeling him and his actions treasonous.

“Why the hell isn’t the Republican Party standing up and demanding his arrest?” Dobbs said of McCabe on his Fox Business show Monday night.

GOP wants McCabe in front of committee

To Republicans, McCabe could be an opportunity of sorts.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamGraham throws support behind Trump's Turkey sanctions Hillicon Valley: Warren takes on Facebook over political ads | Zuckerberg defends meetings with conservatives | Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill Fury over Trump Syria decision grows MORE (R-S.C.) wants to bring him in to testify about the claim of a counterintelligence investigation and an effort to remove Trump from office.

For Graham, it could represent a chance to go on offense and cast McCabe and other officials as going beyond their authority and undermining Democracy.

“That to me is an interesting moment in our history where the FBI folks will be talking about trying to remove the president. Rosenstein said it didn't happen. McCabe said it did ... I'm going to look at all of this,” Graham said.

Republicans in the House are also calling on their Democratic chairmen to have hearings on the matter, saying if the tables were flipped and it was a Democrat in the Oval Office, they would want to know if a top DOJ official was considering ways to remove the president from office.

Rep. Doug CollinsDouglas (Doug) Allen CollinsUS, UK sign agreement allowing British authorities to quickly obtain data from tech giants Joe Lieberman's son running for Senate in Georgia GOP rep: Pelosi would allow floor vote if this were a 'true' impeachment inquiry MORE (Ga.), the top Republican on the Judiciary panel, urged Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) to “immediately” schedule a hearing with McCabe and Rosenstein — noting that they should subpoena them if necessary.

Similarly, Jordan and Rep. Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsEx-Ukraine ambassador arrives to give testimony GOP seeks to gain more control of impeachment narrative Conservative lawmakers demand Schiff's recusal from Trump impeachment inquiry MORE (R-N.C.) have urged House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsCracks emerge in White House strategy as witness testifies Overnight Defense: Pentagon insists US hasn't abandoned Kurds | Trump expands sanctions authority against Turkey | Ex-Ukraine ambassador says Trump pushed for her ouster On The Money: Trump announces limited trade deal with China | Appeals court rules against Trump over financial records | Trump expands authority to sanction Turkey MORE (D-Md.) to have the two men separately testify about their actions after the firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey says he has a 'fantasy' about deleting his Twitter account after end of Trump term We need answers to questions mainstream media won't ask about Democrats Trump 'constantly' discusses using polygraphs to stem leaks: report MORE, pointing to their conflicting statements on the 25th Amendment.

Trump feud with Justice deepens

The bottom line with McCabe is that he is the second top FBI official after Comey to be engaged in an ugly public fight with the president.

As the story unfolds, it threatens to deepen the animosity between the president and the Department of Justice, where tensions have already been high.

New Attorney General William Barr is seen by many as a figure who could improve relations between the president and Justice. A former attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, Barr is well respected by people inside and outside the building.

But the sharp accusations from McCabe and Trump’s response threaten, at best, to be a major distraction from those efforts.

“Wow, so many lies by now disgraced acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged. He and Rod Rosenstein, who was hired by Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump attacks Sessions: A 'total disaster' and 'an embarrassment to the great state of Alabama' Ocasio-Cortez fires back at Washington Times after story on her 'high-dollar hairdo' Trump's tirades, taunts and threats are damaging our democracy MORE (another beauty), look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught,” the president wrote in a pair of tweets on Monday.