Acting FBI Chief: Russia Probe 'Highly Significant'
Plus other takeaways from Andrew McCabe's testimony
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 11, 2017 1:26 PM CDT
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Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday while testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – Former FBI Director James Comey has said his official goodbyes, but the story on his firing is far from over. The person garnering the most attention Thursday was Acting Director Andrew McCabe, who testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee at a public hearing and tried to clarify some of the fogginess surrounding Comey's firing, as well as the investigation into Russian interference in the election and possible ties between Russia and members of Donald Trump's campaign, the AP reports. Some standouts from McCabe's testimony:

  • The White House is trying to paint Comey as a leader who'd lost the faith of not only the public, but also of his own staff—a "not accurate" assertion McCabe refuted. "Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day," he told the committee. He added, per the Washington Post, that the "vast majority of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection" with Comey.

  • Another contradiction to the White House is how McCabe sees the probe into the Russia-Trump ties. Although Trump spokeswoman Sara Huckabee Sanders had mentioned Wednesday that that investigation was "probably one of the smallest things that [the FBI has] going on their plate," per the New York Times, McCabe had a different label for the inquiry and its priority on the FBI's to-do list: "highly significant."
  • McCabe didn't reveal whether Trump himself is being investigated, but he did talk about Trump's claim in his pink-slip letter to Comey that the director had told him personally, "three times," that he wasn't under investigation. McCabe told the Senate committee that, as a rule, FBI members don't fill someone in on whether they're being investigated, a claim backed up by ex-FBI agents who said such remarks would be "unthinkable," as the AP puts it.
  • There's been "no effort to impede" the probe so far, McCabe assured the committee, per Politico. He also said if anyone from the White House or anywhere else tries to interfere, he'd be the first to say so. "I absolutely do," he replied when asked if he would give his word he'd sound the alarm if anyone tried to hinder the investigation, per the Post.
  • In terms of the rumors circulating that Comey had requested more resources for the investigation just days before he was fired, McCabe said he didn't know anything about that and that he was under the impression the probe had enough resources to work with.
  • Per the Post, McCabe is determined that the FBI investigation into Russian influence will carry on just as before, telling Sen. Marco Rubio, who asked him a question on the matter, "Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution."

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