McCabe became acting director of the FBI after Trump abruptly fired James Comey in May 2017. Trump reportedly asked McCabe to the White House for a meeting after McCabe was named to the position.
At one point during the meeting, the conversation veered off course, according to the Washington Post. Trump reportedly asked McCabe whether he voted for him in 2016:
The two men exchanged pleasantries, but before long, Trump, according to several current and former U.S. officials, asked Andrew McCabe a pointed question: Whom did he vote for in the 2016 election?
McCabe said he didn’t vote, according to the officials, who, like others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about a sensitive matter.
The Post also reports that Trump got angry about a donation McCabe’s wife received from a political-action committee associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an ally of Hillary Clinton. McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Virginia state Senate in 2015, and received close to $500,000 from McAuliffe’s PAC.
McCabe reportedly told associates he found his Oval Office interaction with Trump “disturbing.” A source told the Washington Post that the conversation is of interest to special counsel Robert Mueller.
McCabe, now serving as deputy FBI director, has become a regular target for Trump and his congressional GOP allies, who have tried to paint him as biased because of his wife’s political affiliations.
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp explained the beginnings of the conservative case against Deputy Director McCabe:
McCabe lost her campaign and didn’t run again. But the donations she received would turn out to be a big problem for her husband just a few months later, when they were revealed by Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett in October 2016. At the time, Deputy Director McCabe was overseeing the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server — which just happened to be one of the biggest issues in the 2016 presidential election.
The Trump team screamed bias, and continued making noise about it even after his electoral victory. On January 12, the Justice Department’s Inspector General announced a probe into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton server investigation, including “allegations that the FBI Deputy Director should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters.”
Republicans’ calls for McCabe’s ouster clanged louder after McCabe’s name seemed to pop up in text messages sent by FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was removed from the Mueller investigation for alleged anti-Trump bias. As Beauchamp explained:
Strzok had mentioned someone named “Andy” in a text message with federal attorney Lisa Page, seeming to suggest there was a discussion about Trump — and not a positive one — in McCabe’s office.
Trump’s FBI director, Christopher Wray, assumed office in August, with McCabe as his deputy. An Axios report this week said Attorney General Jeff Sessions had also been “pressuring” Wray to clean house and fire McCabe. Wray ultimately resisted the move.
McCabe is expected to retire in March when he becomes eligible for his full pension. But, taken together, these latest reports suggest the administration hasn’t quite learned its lesson after Comey, who testified that Trump tried to pressure the then-FBI director into pledging his loyalty to the president.