Fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “undercut his credibility all by himself” by lying to investigators, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said on “Fox News Sunday.”
McCabe oversaw the FBI’s investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe Friday night — just two days before his official retirement with a lucrative federal pension was to begin — following the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
Almost immediately after Sessions’ announcement, McCabe and his attorney, former Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Bromwich, decried President Donald Trump in lengthy statements.
But Gowdy (shown above), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, dismissed McCabe’s defense of his integrity.
“If he’s got credibility issues, he needs to look no further than himself,” Gowdy said. “Andy McCabe has undercut his credibility all by himself.”
Gowdy vowed to “withhold judgment” on whether Sessions was right to fire McCabe two days before his pension began rather than waiting until a forthcoming report from current IG Michael Horowitz is released. But the South Carolina Republican, who is not seeking re-election, said McCabe was mistaken to blame Trump or House Republicans for the attacks on his credibility.
“Make no mistake — the FBI is who recommended that he be fired. It wasn’t crazy House Republicans and it wasn’t the Trump administration,” Gowdy said. “It was his own fellow bureau agents.”
Several congressional Democrats voiced support for McCabe Saturday, but not one of the most prominent, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who admitted Sunday that McCabe’s firing “may be justified.”
“His firing may be justified. There is no way for us to know at this point,” Schiff said Sunday on ABC News’ “This Week.” “But even though it may have been justified, it can also be tainted.” Schiff is the ranking Democrat on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
Schiff trails only House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the vociferousness of his Trump criticisms.
Not all congressional Republicans were pleased with the timing of McCabe’s firing, however. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday that he didn’t “like the way it went down” and that he “would have certainly done it differently.”
“He should have been allowed to finish through the weekend,” Rubio said. “If that report would’ve indicated wrongdoing or something that was actionable, there are things that could’ve been done after the fact. But, you know, 48 hours to go before retirement — I would’ve certainly done it differently given the fact there’s still this report out there that hasn’t come in.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the timing of McCabe’s firing was “highly suspicious,” noting that “common sense and fairness suggest” that Sessions should have waited until reports came out before making a final judgment.
“Let’s see how they stack up against the facts as we know them and the statements that are being made by Mr. McCabe,” Durbin told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace.
“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me,” tweeted Trump.
“But make no mistake, Chris — it was in December that President Trump announced we have 90 days to get McCabe before he retires,” Durbin said. “He put out basically a hit on him and said, ‘Do this before he qualifies for retirement.’ Just hours before he would have qualified and left the FBI, this action was taken. It’s highly suspicious.”
In his statement, McCabe said, “This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally … To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair.”
McCabe also insisted he was “being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of [former FBI Director] James Comey” — noting that Trump had attacked him repeatedly on Twitter over the last several months.
Trump took to Twitter on Sunday to bash McCabe and praise his firing.
“The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry [McAuliffe], who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” Trump tweeted.
“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?” Trump added.
The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2018
Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2018