Former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe said he opened an investigation into President Donald Trump's ties to Russia one day after meeting with the president in May 2017 because he feared he would be fired.
"I was speaking to the man who had just run for the presidency and won the election for the presidency and who might have done so with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage. And that was something that troubled me greatly," McCabe said during an appearance on CBS's "60 Minutes."
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McCabe then said he started obstruction of justice and counterintelligence investigations involving the president the following day.
"I think the next day I met with the team investigating the Russia cases, and I asked the team to go back and conduct an assessment to determine where are we with these efforts and what steps do we need to take going forward," McCabe said. "I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired that the case could not be closed or vanished in the night without a trace."
"I wanted to make sure that our case was on solid ground and if somebody came in behind me and closed it and tried to walk away from it, they would not be able to do that without creating a record of why they made that decision," McCabe continued.
McCabe's comments mark the first occasion in which he has addressed why he decided to investigate the president after former FBI director James Comey was fired.
The White House said in a statement that McCabe "opened a completely baseless investigation into the president."
McCabe was fired last March after the Justice Department's Office of the Inspector General found he misled investigators "about the role he had in leaking information to the Wall Street Journal in October 2016 about the investigation into the Clinton Foundation," according to the Washington Examiner.