Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said Tuesday that no congressional leaders voiced objections when he told them in May 2017 that the bureau had opened a counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump. [...]McCabe writes in his book that the briefing for the "Gang of Eight" leaders in Congress came days after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, making McCabe acting director of the bureau at the time. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the bipartisan group of lawmakers in that meeting that special counsel Robert Mueller had been appointed to continue the ongoing Russia investigations, according to McCabe.
For those unfamiliar with the phrase, the "Gang of Eight" refers to eight members of Congress who receive special intelligence briefings, providing them with classified information as part of a system of checks and balances. The "gang" includes the top two senators (the Senate majority leader and minority leader), the top two House members (the Speaker and the House minority leader), the top two Senate Intelligence Committee members (chair and ranking member) and the top two House Intelligence Committee members (chair and vice chair).
In 2016, for example, members of the "Gang of Eight" received a classified briefing on Russian efforts to put Donald Trump in power. Officials urged the eight lawmakers to respond to Moscow's attack on our elections, but Republicans refused.
Andrew McCabe is now pointing to a different briefing, held in May 2017, in which the FBI alerted the "Gang of Eight" to the fact that federal law enforcement had opened a counter-intelligence investigation into Trump himself.
The purpose of the briefing, the former FBI deputy director said this morning, "was to let our congressional leadership know what exactly what we'd been doing" following Trump's decision to fire James Comey.
And after the lawmakers were notified as to what the FBI was doing, McCabe added, "No one objected -- not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds, and not based on the facts."
To provide some additional context, if McCabe's version of events is correct, top congressional lawmakers were told nearly two years ago that the FBI was concerned about whether the American president had been compromised by a foreign adversary and become a possible threat to our national security.
These congressional leaders -- four Democrats and four Republicans -- could've objected at the time. They chose not to.
And yet, at the time and in the months that followed, including Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Devin Nunes, defended Trump, pushed his agenda as their own, and in some instances, even endorsed the president's attacks on federal law enforcement.
I'll look forward to hearing their explanation.