Top FBI official Andrew McCabe did not just investigate President Trump. As he notes in a little-publicized part of his new book, McCabe even investigated his department boss — then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions — after Senate Democrats asked McCabe to look into allegations Sessions perjured himself during his confirmation hearings when he denied meeting with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.
Sessions had, in fact, met with the Russian ambassador. He later corrected the record and explained he had forgotten speaking with the official and was not trying to mislead Congress.
Ordering the Sessions probe was “another unprecedented, partisan action that has been forgotten,” said former federal prosecutor Solomon L. Wisenberg, a partner at Nelson Mullins LLP in Washington.
McCabe dished a healthy portion of scorn on Sessions in his book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.” He accused him of having “trouble focusing” and having to overcome a “huge learning curve for an attorney general.” He claimed he wasn’t even reading briefing materials on national security threats. McCabe also accused Sessions of being Islamophobic and making racist comments in meetings. He even claimed that the attorney general thought federal agents who were taken hostage overseas “had it coming” and shouldn’t be rescued.
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A former senior Justice Department aide to Sessions, who was in high-level meetings with McCabe and the former attorney general, strongly disputed McCabe's allegations, calling them “fiction."
“They’re beyond absurd and outright false. Like just about everything else he says,” the official told RealClearInvestigations. "He was fired, after all, for lying. To the FBI."
Sessions fired McCabe last March on the recommendation of the FBI’s disciplinary office after the Justice Department’s inspector general found that McCabe had repeatedly lied under oath to investigators about leaking information to the press about the ongoing Clinton Foundation case. The department watchdog referred evidence of McCabe’s false statements to U.S. attorneys for criminal prosecution. A grand jury has been hearing the case.
In his 274-page book, McCabe does not mention ex-British spy Christopher Steele or his lurid and unverified Trump-Russia dossier, which was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign, and McCabe was not asked about either of them in any of his interviews with mostly friendly media outlets. He also left out his role in obtaining a FISA warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and, by extension, the Trump campaign.
It is still not clear if McCabe's investigations of President Trump and his associates were completely absorbed by the special counsel's investigation, or if the FBI under his leadership continued to investigate the president on its own.
While it’s widely assumed that the FBI stopped its entire Trump-related Russia investigation once Mueller was appointed in May 2017, McCabe and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein signed off on the third renewal of the FISA warrant on Page two months later.
And in little-noticed June 2017 testimony, McCabe told the Senate Intelligence Committee that “the FBI continues to investigate … the Russia investigation.”
Explained McCabe: “[T]he FBI maintains a much broader responsibility to continue investigating issues relative to potential Russian counterintelligence activity and threats posed to us from Russian adversaries."
There are laws against groundlessly subjecting individuals to criminal investigation. Former prosecutors say what FBI brass did to the president and his advisers could potentially be a violation of a federal statute known as “deprivation of rights under the color of law.” Other statutes proscribing fraud and false statements also come into play.
Moreover, Justice Department as well as FBI regulations strictly prohibit inaccurate or unverified information in FISA warrant applications, such as the Steele dossier’s rumors the FBI relied on to obtain authorization to spy on Page. It can also be a felony to conceal relevant or exculpatory information and mislead the FISA court.