WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump attacked the FBI in a pair of tweets Saturday for not turning over text messages written by Andrew McCabe, the agency’s former deputy director, to a conservative advocacy group.
Trump suggested the FBI was “hiding” something and threatened “to get involved” in the law enforcement agency’s handling of the text messages.
“Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text massages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities,” Trump tweeted.
Judicial Watch is a right-leaning group that is seeking a broad array of communications from top FBI officials through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
“FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding? McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people......” Trump tweeted.
Trump also took aim at former FBI director James Comey and two FBI agents, Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.
Page and Strzok exchanged text messages that were highly critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential election. All three worked on the FBI's investigation into Clinton’s emails and, later, on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Trump has tried to undercut the Russia investigation, calling it a "witch hunt."
McCabe served as the FBI’s deputy director but was fired in March, just hours before his retirement, by Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions. McCabe had been a frequent target of Trump, who accused him of bias against him and in favor of Hillary Clinton.
An inspector general's report, used to justify McCabe’s firing, said McCabe misled investigators about his role in providing information to the media before the 2016 election. The report, by the Department of Justice Office of Inspector General, concluded that McCabe "lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions" when asked about his role in giving information about a Clinton Foundation investigation to a Wall Street Journal reporter in October 2016. That "lack of candor" violated FBI rules, according to the report, written by inspector general Michael Horowitz.
McCabe has rejected those accusations, saying the inspector general's inquiry was "part of an unprecedented effort by the (Trump) administration, driven by the president himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn."