New Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe acknowledged for the first time in public testimony Thursday that some agents were angry with the 2016 decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton – while also defending ousted Director James Comey’s overall standing at the bureau.
“I think morale’s always been good, but there were folks within our agency that were frustrated with the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case and some of those folks were very vocal about those concerns,” McCabe testified.
McCabe stepped into the role of acting director Wednesday after Trump dismissed Comey, purportedly over his conduct during the 2016 probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state. Comey announced at a press conference last July that, despite concluding Clinton had been “extremely careless” in the handling of classified material, he would not recommend prosecution.
McCabe’s comments at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing mark the first public recognition from the FBI that some agents were angry at the decision not to prosecute.
While he noted the anger over that decision, he also pushed back on White House claims that Comey had lost confidence from rank-and-file staff in the agency.
“I can tell you also that Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” he testified, adding that many staff held a “deep, positive connection” with him.
Democrats and some Republicans have expressed concern at the timing of Comey’s firing, with some questioning whether it was related to the FBI probe into alleged ties between Russian officials and Trump associates during the presidential campaign.