Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will defend the bureau’s handling of the Trump-Russia collusion probe in 2016, but also acknowledge that it made mistakes in the investigation when he testifies Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to his prepared remarks.
“Let me be very clear. We didn’t open a case because we liked one candidate or didn’t like the other one. We didn’t open a case because we intended to stage a coup or overthrow the government. We didn’t open a case because we thought it might be interesting or drag the FBI into a heated political contest,” Mr. McCabe will tell lawmakers, according to the remarks released Monday.
“We opened a case to find out how the Russians might be undermining our elections. We opened a case because it was our obligation — our duty — to do so. We did our job,” he intends to say.
Mr. McCabe, the former No. 2 official at the FBI, was a key figure in the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and alleged collusion between Russia and members of President Trump’s campaign.
He will appear before the Senate panel as part of hearings organized by Chairman Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, to scrutinize the early stages of the Russian collusion probe, dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane.”
Mr. McCabe will acknowledge that the FBI made several missteps in the Russia probe, according to his prepared remarks.
A review last year by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz uncovered a series of errors on the part of FBI agents involved in the probe. The mistakes included omitting or withholding exculpatory evidence clearing Carter Page, a Trump campaign aide who was surveilled by the FBI as part of the probe.
An FBI lawyer, Kevin Clinesmith, later pleaded guilty to doctoring evidence against Mr. Page, who was surveilled under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
“I was shocked and disappointed at the errors and mistakes that the [inspector general] found. To me any material misrepresentation or error in a FISA application is unacceptable. Period,” Mr. McCabe will tell lawmakers. “The FBI should be held to the standard of ‘scrupulous accuracy.’”
Mr. McCabe was fired in March 2018 by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions after a report by Mr. Horowitz detailed multiple instances in which he lacked candor with investigators.
The report concluded that Mr. McCabe misled ex-FBI Director James Comey and others about his authorization to leak sensitive information to the Wall Street Journal that revealed the existence of an FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation.
In February, the Justice Department declined to press charges against Mr. McCabe and a federal judge ruled in September that his wrongful-termination lawsuit against the FBI and Justice Department could move forward.