McCabe urges wide release of Mueller report
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said he believes Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election should be publicly released, a commitment that President Donald Trump’s new attorney general has refused to make.
“I think that report should be shared immediately with Congress, and I think it should be shared as broadly as possible with the American public,” McCabe said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program Wednesday.
Mueller is due to submit conclusions explaining his decisions to prosecute or decline filing charges to new Attorney General William Barr, who was sworn in last week. Barr will decide what to do with that information.
During his Senate confirmation hearing, Barr – who described Mueller as a longtime close friend – refused to commit to sharing the special counsel’s findings with Congress and the public. He said regulations call for Mueller’s report to be confidential, and “the report that goes public would be a report by the attorney general.” He also suggested he might exclude criticism of Trump from any such public report in light of the Justice Department’s policy that a president can’t be indicted while in office.
McCabe, who is promoting a new book, told CNN Tuesday night that “it’s possible” Trump is working as a Russian “asset.” McCabe said officials began the investigation into whether Trump and his campaign had been colluding with Russia in the days after the president fired FBI director James Comey in May of 2017.
McCabe, who served as acting director after Comey’s firing, said he briefed top congressional leaders – known as the “Gang of Eight” – about the Trump probe at the time.
“The most important thing is that people should be confident that what they ultimately hear from Director Mueller and his team is the honest, straight-up, complete result of the investigation that they did – whether it finds the smoking guns that you think might be there, or nothing at all,” McCabe said in the interview. “I know from working with Director Mueller over the course of about 12 years that he is perfectly equipped to do this job – he’ll do it thoroughly, honestly and independently.”
McCabe has generated controversy this week by saying he was present in the wake of Comey’s firing when Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein brought up the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record Trump as well as the possibility of invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to remove the president on the grounds he was unfit for office. The Justice Department has disputed McCabe’s depiction of the conversations.
Trump has been tweeting his outrage over McCabe’s assertions, saying on Monday that he and Rosenstein “were planning a very illegal act, and got caught.”
Rosenstein plans to leave the Justice Department soon. On Tuesday, Trump announced that he intends to nominate Jeffrey Rosen, who’s now deputy secretary of the Transportation Department, to succeed him.
While Barr is now in place at the Justice Department, Democrats in Congress have suggested he should recuse himself from overseeing the final phase of Mueller’s investigation, citing a memo he sent to the Justice Department last year criticizing Mueller for looking into Trump’s firing of Comey as possible obstruction of justice.
Barr refused in his confirmation hearing last month to commit to recusing himself, saying he’d seek the advice of career ethics officials.