FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Senate GOP set to ramp up Obama-era probes Showtime miniseries to feature Jeff Daniels as Comey, Brendan Gleeson as Trump MORE and other top officials reportedly took steps to preserve memos authored by former Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThis week: Negotiators hunt for coronavirus deal as August break looms FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation MORE and other key documents related to the Russia investigation over worries that President TrumpDonald John TrumpMark Kelly clinches Democratic Senate nod in Arizona Trump camp considering White House South Lawn for convention speech: reports Longtime Rep. Lacy Clay defeated in Missouri Democratic primary MORE would interfere in the probe, CNN reported Thursday.

In the days following Comey's ouster in 2017, McCabe reportedly thought that President Trump's decision to remove the FBI director was problematic and, as the then-acting director of the agency, instructed his team to open a criminal case, according to an adapted excerpt from CNN legal analyst Jeffery Toobin's book, "True Crimes and Misdemeanors: The Investigation of Donald Trump."

Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinFBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Sally Yates to testify as part of GOP probe into Russia investigation Graham releases newly declassified documents on Russia probe MORE, then deputy attorney general, announced the appointment of Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerCNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump CNN anchor rips Trump over Stone while evoking Clinton-Lynch tarmac meeting The Hill's 12:30 Report: New Hampshire fallout MORE to oversee the Russia probe later that May, eight days after Comey's firing. Robert Mueller and his team carried out an investigation into whether the Trump campaign during the lead up to the 2016 election, colluded with Russia to help Trump get elected. 

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McCabe, fearing that he would not last at the agency given the tumultuousness of the moment, then acted to preserve Comey's memos detailing his conversations with Trump as well as other related documents on the FBI's internal system, thus ensuring that they could not be destroyed, according to CNN.

Other officials sent documents including the memos to remote locations throughout the FBI, according to CNN, with the goal of preserving them to be shared at a later date. 

The move by McCabe and other FBI officials to preserve the probe's evidence came as the White House frequently denied over the course of Mueller's investigation that Trump had ever seriously considered ordering former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe 'pitcher of warm spit' — Veepstakes and the fate of Mike Pence FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book Tuberville breaks DC self-quarantine policy to campaign MORE or his successor, William BarrBill BarrDemocrats' silence on our summer of violence is a tactical blunder Trump prizes loyalty over competence — we are seeing the results Rep. Raúl Grijalva tests positive for COVID-19 MORE, to end the probe.

Trump frequently denounced McCabe and other top FBI officials over Twitter before McCabe was dismissed from the bureau in 2018, days before he would have been eligible to collect his entire early pension.

"Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy," he wrote at the time of McCabe's ouster.

The Russia investigation headed up by Mueller resulted in charges against numerous Trump allies for a variety of crimes ranging from lying to investigators to bank and tax fraud. The president himself was never ultimately formally accused of a crime.

In the months after McCabe's firing, the Justice Department announced an investigation into whether or not he lied during interviews with investigators about disclosures to the news media. The department ultimately decided not to charge him with a crime.