Ex-FBI official with Kremlin link admits sending Trump-Russia document to Congress

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe tells congressional committee he sent dossier to grand jury last July

Ex-FBI official with Kremlin link admits sending Trump-Russia document to Congress

Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who told Congress last year that his political views led him to send a dossier alleging Russian involvement in the US election to the congressional intelligence committee in July, has been fired on Tuesday.

McCabe, who had stepped down in January as acting FBI director, was sacked after a scathing assessment by the FBI director, Christopher Wray, of his “lack of candour”, the Justice Department said.

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The statement from the department’s acting attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, said the firing “shall not be considered a finding of any prosecutable violation of federal law”.

McCabe had been on administrative leave since last summer and was required to tell the FBI’s personnel board of his termination. He was seen by some congressional aides as a controversial figure because of his leadership in the now-defunct investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices, which she strongly denies.

His memo to the congressional committee said he had sent the dossier to the FBI’s legal department on 4 July, saying the document provided “potential corroboration” for some of the allegations in a document prepared by the former British spy Christopher Steele, and who later became paid Russian informant.

The dossier includes a number of outlandish claims such as allegations of ties between Trump’s team and Russia and of Russian efforts to steal emails from the Democratic National Committee and from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. The document was initially reported by BuzzFeed News.

McCabe’s was not a public memo but was signed by one of his deputies and sent as an internal “legal opinion” to FBI headquarters staff, whose work does not appear to have been affected by it.

The dossier, with allegations in Russian against Donald Trump, had been a focus of the congressional Russia inquiry and was closely studied in the House intelligence committee hearing last June, when the investigation was led by another former FBI official, Michael Clemente.

On Tuesday afternoon, the House intelligence committee chairman, Devin Nunes, said he would not seek to hold McCabe in contempt for not turning over a memo that he had drafted about the Russia inquiry.

Nunes also said the committee would start a new inquiry into whether the FBI had conspired against the president, after his last inquiry had been called a “witch hunt” by the White House, which stopped cooperating with it.

McCabe, who was quoted on Monday in the New York Times as describing his firing as “malicious and politically motivated”, resigned as acting FBI director in January after Chris Wray took over from James Comey.

His memo, and other revelations, may help explain why Wray, in his letter to the FBI leadership, characterized McCabe as a “former FBI official with a history of interacting with the media and who was the target of a political attack by the White House”.

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