Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe responded Sunday to President Donald Trump's describing him as a "poor man's J. Edgar Hoover," calling the assumed insult "bizarre and untrue" in an interview with ABC's "This Week."
"I don't even know what that means," McCabe said. "It's not the first time that I've had to listen to the president say bizarre and untrue things about me."
"So it's unfortunate that this is getting a little bit routine," he continued. "But I will say I don't think there is anything sad or unfortunate about speaking truth to power and telling the story that you lived and the things you saw and heard and the reasons behind the decisions you made, and that's what I tried to do with the book," a reference to his recently released memoir "The Threat."
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
On Wednesday, Trump was asked to respond to McCabe's comments in a media blitz this past week to promote his new book. McCabe said he ordered obstruction of justice and counterintelligence investigations into Trump after he fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 and said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed the possibility of removing Trump through the 25th Amendment in addition to wearing a wire during a future conversation with the president. The Justice Department said his commentary on Rosenstein was false, which McCabe disputes.
McCabe also said he briefed congressional leaders about the counterintelligence investigation he had opened into Trump and that "no one objected."
"Well, I think Andrew McCabe has made a fool out of himself over the last couple of days, and he really looks to me like sort of a poor man’s J. Edgar Hoover," Trump said, comparing McCabe to the original FBI director who ran the bureau for five decades. "He’s a — I think he’s a disaster."
McCabe was ousted from the bureau last March, just prior to a planned retirement, following a Justice Department inspector general's report that said he had misled investigators regarding a leak about the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation, which he denies. The inspector general referred its findings to the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia last year for possible prosecution, and prosecutors reportedly have convened a grand jury on the matter.
McCabe said he believes he was fired because he further probed Trump and plans to sue the Justice Department over his ouster.
"It will be an action against the Department of Justice primarily in challenging the circumstances of my firing," McCabe said Sunday of the civil suit he says he will soon file. "It, of course, derives from the inspector general report — a report that I deeply disagree with, a report that was the result of a process that I don't think anyone has ever seen before."
Asked if he felt Trump "inspired" the inspector general's report, McCabe said there was "no doubt" in his mind that Trump's "clear desire impacted that process."
"The president was talking about removing me for months before I ever interacted with the inspector general," he said. "He made his desires perfectly clear on his own Twitter feed. The inspector general delivered that result."