WASHINGTON — The White House didn’t deny today that President Trump asked then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe how he voted, with the RNC saying Trump was just making conversation with the career agent.
Deputy Director McCabe led the FBI after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May, until Director Christopher Wray was confirmed in August.
On Dec. 23, Trump fired off a series of tweets against McCabe, a career FBI agent whose pediatrician wife ran for a state Senate seat in Virginia in 2015 and received donations from the Democratic Party and then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee. McCabe reportedly plans on retiring this year when he’s eligible for full pension benefits.
The Washington Post reported this week that in May, soon after Comey was out, Trump was introduced to McCabe in an Oval Office meeting and asked the acting director who he voted for in 2016.
McCabe reportedly told the president that he didn’t vote in the presidential election.
Trump also allegedly spoke out against the political donations McCabe’s wife received in the past, and McCabe reportedly characterized the exchange to others as “disturbing.”
Asked today if Trump wanted to know how McCabe voted, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump and McCabe “have had limited and pretty non-substantive conversations.”
“I can’t get into the details of what was discussed; I wasn’t there,” she added. “There are widespread reports of his retirement. We’re making sure that we’re focused on the FBI and DOJ is serving all Americans fairly and efficiently, and we’re going to move forward from there.”
Sanders later branded the report of Trump quizzing McCabe “not the leading story that most Americans care about.”
Asked if she could ask Trump about the meeting and get back to reporters, Sanders replied, “I’ll let you know.”
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel told CNN this morning that she thought Trump’s question to McCabe was just getting-acquainted chitchat.
“I think it’s just a conversation,” McDaniel said. “I don’t think it intends, you know, all of these terrible things that people are trying to put forward.”
“I ask people who they vote for sometimes,” she said. “I think it is just trying to get to know somebody.”
Axois reported this week that Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the behest of Trump, has been pressuring Wray to fire McCabe, and Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was forced out.
Trump said at an Oval Office event Tuesday that Wray didn’t threaten to resign,”not even a little bit.”
“Nope. He’s going to do a good job,” Trump added.
Sanders said today that Trump “certainly has 100 percent confidence in Director Wray — that’s why he put him there.”
“He feels like he is the right person to lead the FBI, as I’ve said many times before. He has confidence in the rank-and-file members of the FBI,” she said. “We’re not going to let a few bad actors tarnish the entire group, but that’s why Director Wray is there and he feels like any changes that need to be made, he will make those changes.”