Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe made a series of startling allegations during a sweeping interview with ’60 Minutes’ that aired Sunday, including claims that President Donald Trump took advice from Russian President Vladimir Putin over the counsel of his own intelligence chiefs.
Speaking with host Scott Pelley, McCabe, who was fired last March just two days before his retirement, alleged that Trump regularly launched into unprompted diatribes about his fondness for Russia.
In one instance, McCabe claimed, Trump said he didn’t believe North Korea had the capability to launch a missile at the United States because Putin had told him so. Experts said in July 2017 that the Pyongyang had tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the West Coast of the U.S. for the first time.
“Essentially, the president said he did not believe that the North Koreans had the capability to hit us here with ballistic missiles in the United States,” McCabe said during the interview. “And he did not believe that because President Putin had told him they did not.”
He continued: “Intelligence officials in the briefing responded that that was not consistent with any of the intelligence our government possesses to which the president replied, ‘I don’t care. I believe Putin.’”
The comments follow another bombshell moment from the interview that was released last week in which McCabe said Justice Department officials discussed removing Trump from office using the 25th Amendment. The conversations reportedly took place just days after the president abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey, and McCabe’s statements are the first official confirmation that they took place after several anonymous reports that they took place.
McCabe is currently doing press for the release of his new book, “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.”
The White House responded to McCabe’s claims in the interview, telling “60 Minutes” the former deputy director “was fired in disgrace from the FBI for lying.”
“He opened a completely baseless investigation into the president,” the White House said. “Everyone knows he has no credibility.”
Trump also fired back at McCabe on Twitter late Thursday, calling him a “puppet” for Comey and his former Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.
Trump’s behavior toward Russia is unprecedented for a modern American leader, and he has regularly rejected the findings of U.S. intelligence agencies that Moscow interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
The president has also come under fire from Democrats amid reports in The Washington Post and The New York Times that he went to extraordinary lengths to hide details about his conversations with Putin. The Post first reported in January that Trump took possession of the notes of his interpreter from a meeting with the Russian leader in 2017 and ordered that their contents not be relayed to other senior administration officials.