Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claims he opened an obstruction of justice probe into President Donald Trump so that if he was fired, the case would still be "on solid ground." In an interview with CBS' 60 Minutes that's set to air this Sunday, McCabe also reportedly confirmed to anchor Scott Pelley that senior Department of Justice officials had serious discussions about the possibility of evoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.
McCabe was fired in May 2018 just two days prior to his scheduled retirement by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions. There were allegations that McCabe directed subordinates to leak information to the media, and that he misled DOJ investigators regarding his actions. McCabe has denied that he did anything wrong. His latest interview, excerpts of which aired on CBS Thursday morning, came as he prepared to release his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
McCabe told Pelley that he met with Trump in the Oval Office several hours after Comey was fired. "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," he said. "And that was something that troubled me greatly."
"The next day," McCabe said, "I met with the team investigating the Russia cases, and I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward":
McCabe suggested he quickly opened counterintelligence and obstruction of justice investigations into the president to make sure they would remain in the event he was removed from his position. "I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that, were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace," he told CBS. "I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they were not be able to do that without creating a record why they'd made that decision."
CNN reported in December that McCabe opened the obstruction of justice investigation prior to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the Russia investigation. The New York Times reported last month that the FBI was also trying to ascertain whether or not Trump was working on the Russian government's behalf.
McCabe also reportedly confirmed that he spoke with senior DOJ officials regarding the potential invocation of the 25th Amendment, which allows the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet to remove the president from office if they think he's unfit. Multiple media outlets reported these discussions in September, adding that then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein also suggested that he or other officials wear a wire and secretly record Trump.
"There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment," Pelley said on CBS This Morning, citing his interview with McCabe.
"They were counting noses," Pelley added. "Not asking Cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president. But they were speculating: 'This person would be with us, that person would not be.'"
"This would not perceived to be a joke," Pelley said. He also says McCabe confirmed that Rosenstein was serious about someone wearing a wire in the president's presence.