FBI officials hid copies of Russia probe documents fearing Trump interference: book
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials reportedly took steps to preserve memos authored by former Director James Comey and other key documents related to the Russia investigation over worries that President Trump 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 Rosenstein, then deputy attorney general, announced the appointment of Robert Mueller 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.
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 Sessions or his successor, William Barr, 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.