Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe criticized former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for providing “false” testimony Wednesday on the 2016 Russia investigation.

McCabe in a statement said that he never misled Rosenstein about aspects of the investigation.

“Mr. Rosenstein’s claims to have been misled by me, or anyone from the FBI, regarding our concerns about President Trump and the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia are completely false,” McCabe said in a statement.

McCabe said he “personally briefed” Rosenstein on memos former FBI Director James Comey wrote to memorialize a series of interactions with President Trump that made him feel uncomfortable. Comey later had a friend leak these memos to The New York Times.

McCabe, who reportedly has had a longstanding feud with Rosenstein, suggested Rosenstein was seeking to shield the president rather than remain a fair arbiter of the law.

“Mr. Rosenstein’s testimony is completely at odds with the factual record. It looks to be yet another sad attempt by the President and his men to rewrite the history of their actions in 2017. They have found in Mr. Rosenstein – then and now – a willing accessory in that effort,” McCabe concluded.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) read aloud McCabe’s statement toward the end of Wednesday’s hearing and offered the former Department of Justice (DOJ) official a chance to respond.

“I did not say that Mr. McCabe misled me,” Rosenstein said in response. “Those were not my words. I think he is responding to somebody’s question. What I said was he did not reveal the Comey memos to me for a week, and that is true.”

“And he did not reveal to me that he was having internal deliberations with his team of whether to target high-profile people with his investigation. … My view was that was the kind of thing I needed to know. … I simply said he wasn’t fully forthcoming,” he added. 

Rosenstein also pushed back, telling the lawmakers that McCabe knew he was relying on him to provide details as to what the FBI was investigating since he was new in the role. 

“I had a right to know the deliberations inside the FBI because McCabe knew I had just come into this job. I didn’t know what they were investigating except what he told me,” he said, adding that he has not “made any unfair allegations” against McCabe.

“I was relying upon the information that came up from the FBI,” he continued.

Both officials, who were central to the behind-the-scenes decisions of the Russia probe, no longer work for the government. 

Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018 after DOJ watchdog Michael Horowitz found through an internal investigation that the No. 2 FBI official had “lacked candor” related to his involvement in leaking sensitive details of an investigation to a reporter.

McCabe has denied any wrongdoing while criticizing Horowitz’s findings for having mischaracterizations and omissions. He has also sought to sue the FBI and DOJ for his firing, blaming Trump for being behind his “politically motivated” ouster.

Meanwhile, Rosenstein left the DOJ after the Mueller probe concluded.

The Mueller investigation ultimately did not find sufficient evidence that members of the Trump campaign and Russia coordinated during the high-profile presidential race. Mueller did not make a determination either way on the question of obstruction of justice. 

Tags Andrew McCabe Donald Trump James Comey Jeff Sessions Lindsey Graham Mueller investigation New York Times Robert Mueller Rod Rosenstein Russia probe

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