Political News

On heels of McCabe firing, Trump lawyer calls for end of Mueller probe

Posted March 17, 2018 10:36 a.m. EDT
Updated March 17, 2018 1:12 p.m. EDT

— President Donald Trump's attorney John Dowd called for the end of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling Saturday, just a day after the Justice Department announced the firing of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

"I pray that Acting Attorney General Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe's boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt dossier," Dowd told CNN in a statement, reacting to the news of McCabe's firing.

Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, is overseeing the Russia investigation after Sessions recused himself from the probe last year.

Dowd told CNN he was speaking on his own behalf, although he had earlier told the Daily Beast, which first reported the statement, that he was speaking on behalf of the President. Dowd's comment wasn't authorized by the President, a person close to the Trump told CNN.

Dowd's remarks are the latest in a string of attacks by the President and his associates on the leaders of Trump's own Justice Department, with the President repeatedly attacking the FBI and agents working with Mueller on the investigation into whether members of his presidential campaign colluded with Russia in its efforts to interfere in the 2016 election. The President suggested in January that the department was part of a shady government "deep state" conspiracy against him.

Dowd's comments, which prompted a strong reaction from Democratic leaders in Congress, come after Trump celebrated McCabe's firing on Twitter, writing that Comey, whom Trump fired last May, "made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!"

Dowd later added to his statement, saying of the investigation: "Just end it on the merits in light of recent revelations."

Dowd's remarks were met with swift rebuke from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

"Mr. Dowd's comments are yet another indication that the first instinct of the President and his legal team is not to cooperate with special counsel Mueller, but to undermine him at every turn," the New York Democrat said in a statement.

"The President, the administration, and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel's investigation or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans."

Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also defended the Russia probe, retweeting a link to the Daily Beast story on Dowd's remarks.

"Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now," Warner, a Virginia Democrat, wrote.

On Friday evening, the Justice Department announced that Sessions had fired McCabe just days before he was set to receive his pension.

McCabe had been regularly taunted by Trump and besieged by accusations that he had misled internal investigators at the Justice Department.

However, he denied those allegations in a statement Friday night.

"This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally," McCabe said. "It is part of this Administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work."