On four separate occasions, ex-FBI Director James Comey vouched to President Trump for the alleged integrity and professionalism of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, according to Comey’s newly-released personal memos.
On Thursday, the Justice Department inspector general (IG) referred McCabe to Washington’s top federal prosecutor after the IG’s report found that McCabe had lied to investigators or Comey four times, including on three occasions where McCabe was under oath.
McCabe also faced controversy over a much-debated text message from FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server. According to the four-page Republican House Intelligence Committee memo authored by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Strzok message reportedly referred to “a meeting with Deputy Director McCabe to discuss an ‘insurance’ policy against President Trump’s election.”
Last night, the redacted and declassified sections of Comey’s 15 pages of memos were released after the documents were sent to Congress by the Justice Department. The memos, documenting Comey’s version of numerous conversations with Trump, reveal that Comey repeatedly vouched for McCabe to Trump, who seemed concerned about McCabe’s impartiality.
In one instance, Comey recounted a one-on-one White House dinner on Jan. 27 at which Trump twice asked about McCabe and Comey called McCabe “a true professional”:
At this point he asked me (and asked again later) whether “your guy McCabe” has a problem with me, explaining that “l was pretty rough on him and his wife during the campaign.” L explained that Andy was a true professional and had no problem at all. I then explained what FBI people were like, that whatever there (sic) personal views, they strip them when they step into their bureau roles and actually hold “political people” in slight contempt, without regard to party.
At the same dinner, Comey wrote the topic again returned to McCabe. Comey wrote that Trump asked about “your guy McCabe”, and whether he was “going to be okay.”
“l again affirmed Andy’s ability and professionalism and said the President would come to see and benefit from both,” Comey wrote.
Comey took notes on another White House meeting with Trump the next month at which the former FBI chief called McCabe a “pro.”
He asked (as he had at our dinner) whether my deputy had a problem with him, and recounting how hard he had been on the campaign trail, saying “the number 2 guy at the FBI took a million dollars from the Clintons.” I again explained that Andy McCabe was a pro. He asked whether he had ever mentioned to me the campaign attacks. I said “never,” and again explained he was a true pro and you would come to value him. I said if he had it to do over again I’m sure he would urge his wife not to run, but that the guy put everything aside and did his job well.
McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran as a Democratic for the Virginia state senate in 2015. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump criticized McCabe because his wife took some $675,000 in campaign contributions from the Virginia Democratic Party and groups associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally.
Meanwhile, Comey’s memos relate a 10-minute phone conversation with Trump on March 30, 2017 during which Comey called McCabe an “honorable person.”
As the conversation ended, he said that he hadn’t brought up the McCabe thing because I had said he was an honorable guy (NOTE: I think he meant that he “hadn’t brought it up” in this conversation, but he could have meant something else). I repeated that he was. He then said he hadn’t brought it up but that McAuliffe is close to the Clintons and had given him money but I had said he was an honorable guy. I repeated that he (Andy) was an honorable person.