Andrew McCabe is having his say. McCabe has been out of the headlines for a while, but he became acting director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey—only to be fired himself under heavy criticism from the president. While acting FBI chief, McCabe ramped up the investigations into Trump's ties to Russia, and in a 60 Minutes interview and new book, McCabe is explaining why. The interview airs in full Sunday, but CBS News has offered a peek. Details:
- Why so fast: McCabe tells Scott Pelley that he met with Trump the day Comey was fired in May 2017 and authorized the Russia investigation just one day later. "I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion," he says. "That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace."
- The expansion: The FBI already was investigating whether Russia interfered with the election. McCabe ordered the agency also to investigate whether Trump obstructed justice by firing Comey and whether Trump himself had worked on Russia's behalf, reports the New York Times.
- Removing him? On CBS This Morning, Pelley said McCabe confirmed in the interview that Justice Department officials talked about recruiting members of the Cabinet to remove Trump as president under the 25th Amendment. "They were counting noses," said Pelley. "They were not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating" how individuals would vote. (This part of the interview hasn't been released yet.)
- McCabe's rationale: "I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency, and won the election for the presidency, and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage, and that was something that troubled me greatly," McCabe said. He does not, however, address specific evidence, at least in the portion of the interview released.
- Trump response: "Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a 'poor little Angel' when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax - a puppet for Leakin' James Comey," Trump tweeted Thursday. The "I.G. report on McCabe was devastating." He also re-raised allegations that McCabe went easy on Hillary Clinton because McCabe's wife received money from her campaign as a Democratic candidate herself. (Jill McCabe denies this.)
- Sanders: In a response to the 60 Minutes interview, White House press chief Sarah Sanders says McCabe opened a "completely baseless investigation."
- The wiretap: It has been previously reported that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire in a conversation with Trump. Rosenstein disputes this, and his supporters say any such suggestion was made sarcastically. But McCabe tells Pelley that the offer was sincere, so much so that McCabe even discussed it with FBI lawyers, reports the Washington Post.
- Excerpt: McCabe's interview comes as he's plugging a new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. The Atlantic has an excerpt.
- Unflattering comparison: In the excerpt, McCabe writes about how Trump pressed him about his desire to visit the FBI. "In this moment, I felt the way I'd felt in 1998, in a case involving the Russian Mafia, when I sent a man I'll call Big Felix in to meet with a Mafia boss named Dimitri Gufield," McCabe writes. "The same kind of thing was happening here, in the Oval Office. Dimitri had wanted Felix to endorse his protection scheme. 'This is a dangerous business, and it's a bad neighborhood, and you know, if you want, I can protect you from that. If you want my protection. I can protect you. Do you want my protection?' The president and his men were trying to work me the way a criminal brigade would operate.”
(McCabe got fired just days before his retirement
, which cost him in terms of his retirement benefits.)