Trump ‘fake memos’ attack on McCabe raises fears of firing special counsel

Deputy AG should shut down Mueller’s Russia inquiry, says president’s lawyer

Robert Mueller: the special counsel reportedly has memos of conversations between Donald Trump and the fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

Robert Mueller: the special counsel reportedly has memos of conversations between Donald Trump and the fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe. Photograph: Doug Mills/New York Times

 

Donald Trump, the US president, has cast doubt on memos of conversations between him and the fired FBI deputy director that have reportedly been handed to Robert Mueller, claiming Andrew McCabe did not take notes during their meetings.

Seeing Mr Trump’s offensive against Mr McCabe as an attack on Mr Mueller himself, several senior Republicans rallied to support the former FBI director, who is investigating Russian election interference and links between Trump aides and Moscow.

“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe,” President Trump tweeted on Sunday morning in a volley of angry messages, “but he never took notes when he was with me. I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”

Mr McCabe was fired on Friday night, two days short of qualifying for his pension and officially for allowing a leak to the press and failing to be candid about it under oath.

Mr Trump also targeted Mr Comey, the FBI director he fired last May, a move that led to Mr Mueller’s appointment. Mr Comey has also said he wrote memos about his interactions with the president.

Mr Trump tweeted: “Wow, watch Comey lie under oath to Senator G when asked ‘have you ever been an anonymous source – or known someone else to be an anonymous source...?’ He said strongly ‘never, no.’ He lied as shown clearly on @foxandfriends.”

The president was evidently watching a Fox News show that played an exchange from a congressional hearing on May 3rd, 2017, in which Mr Comey was questioned by the Republican senator Chuck Grassley and denied leaking information about FBI investigations.

“If you have an innocent client, act like it”

Speculation about a potential move against Mr Mueller grew on Saturday when Mr Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, said he hoped Mr McCabe’s firing would prompt Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, to shut down the Russia inquiry. Mr Dowd first claimed to have been speaking for the president, then told outlets he was not, then told the Axios website Trump “didn’t have any problem” with his statement.

On Sunday Trey Gowdy, the Republican chair of the US House of Representatives oversight committee, used an appearance on Fox News Sunday to advise: “If you have an innocent client, Mr Dowd, act like it.”

The disclosure of the McCabe memos on Saturday came hours after Mr Trump called Mr McCabe’s firing by Attorney General Jeff Sessions “a great day for Democracy” and asserted without elaboration that Mr McCabe knew “all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

In the past year Mr Trump has repeatedly condemned Mr McCabe as emblematic of an FBI that he insists is biased against his administration.

Mr Sessions said he acted on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials who said Mr McCabe had not been candid with a watchdog-office investigation.

Besides affecting his pension, Mr McCabe’s dismissal could add to the turmoil that has enveloped the FBI since Mr Comey’s firing and as the bureau moves ahead with an investigation that the White House has dismissed as a hoax.– Guardian/PA