WASHINGTON — Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI, tells “60 Minutes” that in the aftermath of President Donald Trump’s firing of James Comey, officials at the Justice Department discussed what it would take to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.
“60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley interviewed McCabe for Sunday’s broadcast, and portions of the interview were aired Thursday on “CBS This Morning”.
“There were meeting at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” Pelley told “CBS This Morning.” “These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what do with the president.”
The 25th Amendment, ratified in 1967, sets up procedures for succession of the president, including when the commander in chief may be unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office. It provides an means for the president’s removal if such a determination is made by the Vice President and a majority of the cabinet.
McCabe also said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to wear a wire in his meetings with Trump.
McCabe served as acting director of the FBI in the aftermath of Comey’s firing, but tells “60 Minutes” that he ordered an obstruction of justice investigation and a counterintelligence probe of Trump’s ties to Russia.
In the excerpts of the interview that were aired, McCabe said that in the aftermath of Comey’s firing, he was “was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion. That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”
He said that after meeting with Trump after Comey was fired, he was “troubled” by the idea that the president might have won the election “with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage.”
The interview with “60 Minutes” was the first since McCabe was fired from the FBI last year. He has written a new book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.” McCabe is only the latest government official to write such a tome, drawing attention from a high-profile TV interview. Comey himself wrote a book that was published in April and appeared on a special edition of ABC News’ “20/20.”
A Justice Department spokesperson said that Rosenstein “again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. “
“As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
Trump responded quickly to McCabe’s Thursday interview. The president wrote on Twitter, “Disgraced FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe pretends to be a “poor little Angel” when in fact he was a big part of the Crooked Hillary Scandal & the Russia Hoax – a puppet for Leakin’ James Comey. I.G. report on McCabe was devastating. Part of “insurance policy” in case I won.”
He added, “….Many of the top FBI brass were fired, forced to leave, or left. McCabe’s wife received BIG DOLLARS from Clinton people for her campaign – he gave Hillary a pass. McCabe is a disgrace to the FBI and a disgrace to our Country. MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”
Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March, 2018, just before he was about to take retirement. Sessions cited what he said were misleading statements about the unauthorized disclosure of information to the news media. At the time, McCabe said that his firing was politically motivated and that he and his family had been targets of “an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country.”
The DOJ spokesperson said that portions of the “60 Minutes” interview were provided to the department in advance, and took issue with other assertions that were made.
The spokesperson said that Rosenstein “never spoke to Mr. Comey about appointing a Special Counsel. The Deputy Attorney General in fact appointed Special Counsel Mueller, and directed that Mr. McCabe be removed from any participation in that investigation. Subsequent to this removal, DOJ’s Inspector General found that Mr. McCabe did not tell the truth to federal authorities on multiple occasions, leading to his termination from the FBI.”