Five takeaways from McCabe’s allegations against Trump

Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeThe Hill's Morning Report — Will Congress do anything on gun control? McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing McCabe says it's 'absolutely' time to launch impeachment inquiry into Trump MORE has unleashed a series of bombshell allegations against President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump watching 'very closely' as Portland braces for dueling protests WaPo calls Trump admin 'another threat' to endangered species Are Democrats turning Trump-like? 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 RosensteinWhy the presumption of innocence doesn't apply to Trump McCabe sues FBI, DOJ, blames Trump for his firing Rosenstein: Trump should focus on preventing people from 'becoming violent white supremacists' MORE — who has strongly disputed McCabe’s account.

Rep. Val DemingsValdez (Val) Venita DemingsTrump takes post-Mueller victory lap Trump attorney: 'Case is closed' after Mueller testimony Mueller agrees lies by Trump officials impeded his investigation 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 McConnellAre Democrats turning Trump-like? House Democrat calls for gun control: Cities can ban plastic straws but 'we can't ban assault weapons?' Churches are arming and training congregants in response to mass shootings: report MORE (Ky.) and then-Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanEmbattled Juul seeks allies in Washington Ex-Parkland students criticize Kellyanne Conway Latina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' 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 KrishnamoorthiOvernight Health Care: Oversight chair plans to call drug executives to testify on costs | Biden airs anti-'Medicare for All' video | House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted kids House panel claims Juul deliberately targeted children, teens Dem lawmaker asks Mueller if Trump administration was vulnerable to blackmail 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 JordanDemocratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal DOJ releases notes from official Bruce Ohr's Russia probe interviews CNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back 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 warns Trump on Taliban deal in Afghanistan: Learn from 'Obama's mistakes' Appropriators warn White House against clawing back foreign aid Trump meets with national security team on Afghanistan peace plan 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 CollinsThe United States broken patent system is getting worse Democratic Women's Caucus calls for investigation into Epstein plea deal Activist groups push House Judiciary leaders to end mass phone data collection 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 MeadowsTrump finds consistent foil in 'Squad' Gun store billboard going after the 'Squad' being removed following backlash Hurd retirement leaves GOP gloomy on 2020 MORE (R-N.C.) have urged House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDemocrats slam alleged politicization of Trump State Department after IG report Senior Trump officials accused of harassing, retaliating against career State Dept. employees Overnight Health Care: Planned Parenthood to leave federal family planning program absent court action | Democrats demand Trump withdraw rule on transgender health | Cummings, Sanders investigate three drug companies for 'obstructing' probe MORE (D-Md.) to have the two men separately testify about their actions after the firing of former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyBarr predicts progressive prosecutors will lead to 'more crime, more victims' James Comey shows our criminal justice system works as intended Trump says he's 'very strongly' considering commuting Rod Blagojevich's sentence 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 SessionsLewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy Nadler subpoenas Lewandowski, former White House official for testimony 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.