During testimony at a Senate hearing this Thursday morning, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe directly contradicted President Trump’s rationale for firing former director James Comey from the post.
McCabe refuted two key talking points from the White House’s justification for Comey’s firing: the claim that Comey had lost the respect of the FBI’s “rank and file” members, and the claim that the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election was not a major priority of the agency.
Regarding the claim that Comey had lost the support of the FBI’s rank and file, McCabe said it is “not accurate.”
“…I worked very, very closely with Director Comey from the moment he started at the FBI, … I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard. I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity, and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him,” McCabe said at the hearing.
“I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” he added.
Acting FBI Director McCabe: "Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI. And still does to this day." pic.twitter.com/7OE5U5K4QW
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 11, 2017
Regarding the claim that the FBI’s investigation into the Trump-Russia allegations was a small priority, McCabe said “we consider it to be a highly significant investigation.”
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 11, 2017
Comey was originally supposed to testify at the hearing, but McCabe took his place after the firing.
McCabe took Comey’s place in the hearing that was part of the committee’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election—an investigation that also encompasses any connection between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, as well as leaks to the media—and was joined by national intelligence director Dan Coates and CIA director Mike Pompeo. Comey has been asked to testify before the committee separately, and could appear next week.
McCabe will remain acting FBI Director until Trump appoints a replacement, which is expected to happen this week.
Featured image via screen grab