Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe wisdom of Trump's lawyers, and the accountability that must follow Mueller's report Rosenstein still working at DOJ despite plans to leave in mid-March Graham says he'll probe Rosenstein's 25th Amendment remarks MORE has unleashed a series of bombshell allegations against President TrumpDonald John TrumpMueller report findings could be a 'good day' for Trump, Dem senator says Trump officials heading to China for trade talks next week Showdown looms over Mueller 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.


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 Jay RosensteinShowdown looms over Mueller report If Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report MORE — who has strongly disputed McCabe’s account.

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsHouse intel interrogates Cohen for eight hours Gun violence in America: This carnage must stop Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump 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 McConnellConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Trump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' MORE (Ky.) and then-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanFormer Dem candidate says he faced cultural barriers on the campaign trail because he is working-class Former House candidate and ex-ironworker says there is 'buyer's remorse' for Trump in Midwest Head of top hedge fund association to step down 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 KrishnamoorthiHouse passes series of measures hitting Russia, Putin Cummings says he needs to examine Cohen's testimony further amid GOP allegations of perjury House Intel obtains new info, documents from Cohen in 8-hour interview 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 JordanTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Jim Jordan on Mueller probe: 'Distraction is finally over' Papadopoulos tweets 'time to hit back' after Mueller report delivered to DOJ 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 GrahamDem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report Graham expects 'thorough' briefing on Mueller report 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 CollinsTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Lawmakers urge tech to root out extremism after New Zealand Nearly 40 advocacy groups press lawmakers over NSA call records program 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 MeadowsConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Trump, Congress brace for Mueller findings CNN's Toobin: 'Swirl of suspicion' about more indictments not justified MORE (R-N.C.) have urged House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsTrump, Congress brace for Mueller findings Ex-Georgia candidate calls for probe, says more than a hundred thousand votes went 'missing' Overnight Health Care: Senators seek CBO input on preventing surprise medical bills | Oversight panel seeks OxyContin documents | Pharmacy middlemen to testify on prices | Watchdog warns air ambulances can put patients at 'financial risk' MORE (D-Md.) to have the two men separately testify about their actions after the firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyIf Mueller's report lacks indictments, collusion is a delusion Conservatives wage assault on Mueller report Hillicon Valley: Mueller delivers report, ending investigation | FEMA exposed info of 2.3M disaster survivors | Facebook asks judge to toss DC privacy lawsuit | Trump picks his first CTO | FCC settles lawsuit over net neutrality records 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 SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report 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.