Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday said the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing on Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ firing of deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that the decision merits extra scrutiny “to make sure it wasn't politically motivated.”
“I think we owe it to the average American to have a hearing in the Judiciary Committee, where Mr. Sessions, Attorney General Sessions, comes forward with whatever documentation he has about the firing, and give Mr. McCabe a chance to defend himself,” Graham (R-S.C.), who sits on the committee, said.
“I believe, when it comes to this issue, we need as much transparency as possible to make sure it wasn't politically motivated.”
McCabe’s firing late Friday came just before the former deputy director’s scheduled retirement Sunday, likely denying him the pension he would have received had he been allowed to retire as planned. Sessions said the firing was prompted by a forthcoming inspector general report expected to accuse McCabe of unauthorized leaks to the media and lacking candor in interactions with investigators. McCabe has said he is the target of a smear campaign by the Trump administration because of his role in the FBI’s Russian investigation and his ties to special counsel Robert Mueller and fired FBI Director James Comey.
Trump has long been a critic of McCabe’s, accusing the former deputy director of bias because his wife’s 2015 campaign for a seat in Virginia’s state legislature accepted donations from the super PAC of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has close ties to Hillary Clinton. The president, who has complained often about bias at the FBI and investigations into his 2016 presidential campaign, celebrated McCabe’s firing on Twitter as “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI” and “a great day for Democracy.”
“I think President Trump believes that he's been put upon by the FBI. He reads the texts between the two FBI agents in charge of the Clinton e-mail investigation showing a bias against him and support for her,” Graham said Sunday, referencing a series of 2016 text messages between an FBI agent and a bureau lawyer that were critical of the president.
“And Mr. McCabe, the Office of Professional Responsibility, has recommended that he be dismissed.”