Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe said in an interview clip that aired Thursday that top Department of Justice officials discussed the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to declare President Trump unfit for office.
McCabe’s statement to CBS’s Scott Pelley, who interviewed him for a 60 Minutes episode set to air in full on Sunday, seemed to confirm a September New York Times report that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein offered to secretly record the president in order to develop evidence of his unfitness for office.
“There were meetings at the Justice Department at which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment,” said Pelley, describing the interview Thursday on CBS This Morning. “These were the eight days from [FBI director James] Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president.”
Discussions about recruiting cabinet members to remove Trump from office occurred during two meetings on May 16, 2017, just days after Trump fired Comey, according to the Times.
In a memo drafted by McCabe and obtained by the Times, the former deputy director wrote “we discussed the president’s capacity and the possibility he could be removed from office under the 25th Amendment.”
“They were counting noses. They were not asking cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating, ‘This person would be with us, this person would not be,’ and they were counting noses in that effort,” Pelley said
“This was not perceived to be a joke,” he added, pushing back on Rosenstein’s claim that he may have mentioned recording the president and invoking the 25th Amendment in jest.
McCabe also explained for the first time his decision to launch an obstruction-of-justice investigation into the president’s conduct immediately after Comey’s firing.
“I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace,” McCabe told CBS.
McCabe sat down for the interview in order to promote his new book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, which is set to be released next week.
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