Former FBI official Andrew McCabe memorialized his interactions with President Trump in contemporaneous memos, a person familiar with the case said, and they could become a key piece of evidence in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s probe.
Mueller has been investigating, among other things, whether Trump obstructed justice in his interactions with top law enforcement officials, including McCabe and his former boss, FBI Director James B. Comey. Comey also kept memos documenting his interactions with Trump, which Mueller already was reviewing.
The memos could help bolster McCabe’s credibility, insulating him from allegations that he misstated or misremembered his interactions with Trump. On Friday, McCabe was fired from the FBI over allegations from the Justice Department’s inspector general that he authorized the disclosure of information to a reporter about an ongoing criminal investigation and then misled investigators about it. McCabe disputes that he misled anyone or did anything wrong.
McCabe had been the FBI’s No. 2 official until earlier this year, when he stepped down after FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was briefed on the inspector general’s findings.
It was not immediately clear which interactions the meetings detailed, or how specific they were. McCabe has now spoken publicly about a number of awkward interactions he claims to have had with the president.
In January, The Washington Post reported that Trump, during an Oval Office meeting in May, had asked McCabe who he voted for in the 2016 election, then vented about hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations that McCabe’s wife had received. His wife, Jill McCabe, a Democrat, ran for a seat in the Virginia State Senate in 2015, and the donations came from a political action committee controlled by Terry McAuliffe, a close friend of Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.
McCabe told CNN in an interview in advance of his firing that Trump was focused on his wife’s campaign and alleged there were at least four times where Trump called it a “mistake” or “problem,” or branded his wife a “loser.” McCabe said he told the president he himself had not voted in the 2016 election.
Mueller has shown interest in McCabe’s interactions with the president, though Comey’s might more squarely fit into a possible obstruction of justice case. Comey alleges the president asked him for a pledge of loyalty, and asked if he could let go an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Flynn has since pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as a part of Mueller’s ongoing investigation. Trump fired Comey in May, and McCabe briefly took over as the FBI’s acting director.