Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe had a lot to say on Sunday’s 60 Minutes interview with Scott Pelley, including that Donald Trump placed more faith in Vladimir Putin’s opinion on North Korea’s nuclear capabilities than intelligence given to him by U.S. officials, and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein definitely “offered to wear a wire into the White House.”
Lot going on here, but let’s start with the most obviously terrifying, if not entirely surprising, bit about Trump deferring issues of national security to his best friend and mentor, Putin:
“Essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States. And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not. President Putin had told him that the North Koreans don’t actually have those missiles.”
After he was informed that U.S. intelligence disagreed, McCabe said that Trump replied, “I don’t care. I believe Putin.”
McCabe said he was “astounded” at the president’s easy dismissal of his own country’s intelligence, for some reason.
“To spend the time and effort and energy that we all do in the intelligence community to produce products that will help decision makers and the ultimate decision maker, the President of the United States—make policy decisions, and to be confronted with an absolute disbelief in those efforts and a unwillingness to learn the true state of affairs that he has to deal with every day was just shocking,” he said.
McCabe also expanded on the previously reported story that Rosenstein volunteered to wear a wire into the White House because, as he put it, “I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn’t know it was there.”
Rosenstein has denied that he intended to record within the White House in hopes of impeaching Trump via the 25th Amendment, which would target his “capacity and about his intent at that point in time.” But McCabe maintains Rosenstein was completely serious:
“And in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had. I never actually considered taking him up on the offer. I did discuss it with my general counsel and my leadership team back at the FBI after he brought it up the first time,” he told Pelley.
As a result, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman and rabid Trump guard dog Lindsey Graham said his panel will investigate the claim.
“There’s an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup, take the president down [through] the 25th Amendment process,” Graham said on Face the Nation.
“The deputy attorney general denies it. I promise your viewers the following: that we will have a hearing about who’s telling the truth, what actually happened.”
McCabe was fired from his post the day before he was set to retire by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, ostensibly because he authorized the disclosure of information about an ongoing investigation to a reporter, then lied about the leak to Department of Justice officials.
But McCabe claims that’s incorrect; that the actual reason for his firing is because he immediately opened two investigations into the president: One on whether Trump obstructed justice by firing his predecessor, James Comey, and a separate one to determine whether Trump was acting on behalf of the Russian government.
“I believe I was fired because I opened a case against the president of the United States,” he said.