Washington: Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe has said in an interview that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign's ties to Russia.
McCabe also said in the interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday in the US that the FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat, following the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
Andrew McCabe said a crime may have been committed by Donald Trump when he fired FBI director James Comey.Credit:AP
"And the idea is, if the President committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia's malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, 'why would a president of the United States do that?'" McCabe said.
He added: "So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?"
Asked whether Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein was on board with the obstruction and counterintelligence investigations, McCabe replied, "absolutely".
A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein was serious when he proposed wearing a wire to record Trump, McCabe said.Credit:Bloomberg
McCabe said the remark was made during a conversation about why Trump had fired Comey.
"And in the context of that conversation, the Deputy Attorney-General offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, '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'," McCabe said.
In excerpts released last week by CBS News, McCabe also described a conversation in which Rosenstein had broached the idea of invoking the Constitution's 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The Justice Department said in a statement that Rosenstein, based on his dealings with Trump, does not see cause to seek the removal of the President.
Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, vowed to investigate whether the top officials at the Justice Department and the FBI plotted an "attempted bureaucratic coup" to remove Trump from office. He said he would subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein if necessary.
Trump reiterated his criticism of McCabe and said the attempted coup was "treasonous".
Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who is seeking her party's nomination for president, told reporters after a campaign event on Sunday in Las Vegas that if the people around Trump believe he cannot fulfil the obligations of his office, then they have a duty to invoke the 25th Amendment.
A favourite target of Trump's ire, Warren said she has no special knowledge on whether there are grounds to remove Trump from office but said that "there are a whole lot of people who do see him every day who evidently were talking about invoking the 25th Amendment".
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