Sunday on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) vowed to hold hearing into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claim that Justice Department officials had discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump.
Partial transcript as follows:
MARGARET BRENNAN, HOST “FACE THE NATION”: Senator that’s a tremendous allegation to make. Have you ever asked Rod Rosenstein if in fact that conversation happened?
GRAHAM: While he’s publicly denied it, but, the whole point of Congress existing is to provide oversight of the executive branch. So through good reporting by “60 Minutes,” there’s an allegation by the acting FBI director at the time that the deputy attorney general was basically trying to do an administrative coup, take the president down to the 25 Amendment process. The deputy attorney general denies it. So I promise your viewers the following; that we will have a hearing about who’s telling the truth, what actually happened. Mr. McCabe, you remember, was dismissed from the FBI for leaking information to the press. So you’ve got to remember the source here.
BRENNAN: There has been some parsing though of whether these were extended discussions versus conversations about the 25th Amendment. Do you know whether those conversations have taken place?
SEN. GRAHAM: No but I think everybody in the country needs to know if it happened. It’s stunning to me that one of the chief law enforcement officers of the land- the acting head of the FBI- would go on national television and say, oh by the way I remember a conversation with the deputy attorney general about trying to find if we could replace the president under the 25th Amendment. We’re a democracy. People enforce the law- can’t take it into their own hands. And was this an attempted bureaucratic coup? I don’t know. I don’t know who’s telling the truth. I know Rosenstein vehemently denied it but we’re going to get to the bottom of it. I do know there was a lot of monkey business about FISA warrants being issued against Carter Page, about dossiers coming from Russia that were unverified. Mr. Mueller is going to look at the Trump campaign as he should to see if they violated any laws during the 2016 election. And I’m going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of the Department of Justice FBI behavior toward President Trump and his campaign.
BRENNAN: But- but by even framing it as you just did there Senator, are you concerned that by investigating the investigators you are adding to some damage of the credibility of the FBI?
SEN. GRAHAM: Quite the opposite. If it happened we need to clean it up. The FBI has gotten off track in the past. It’s one of the greatest organizations in the world. The Hoover years have proven to be pretty dark periods for the FBI. The latter part of the Hoover days where politicians were being blackmailed. There is no organization beyond scrutiny. There is no organization that can’t withstand scrutiny. And the FBI will come out stronger. But we’ve got to get to the bottom of it. What are people to think after they watch “60 Minutes” when they hear this accusation by the acting deputy- acting FBI director that the deputy attorney general encouraged him to try to find ways to count votes to replace the president? That can’t go unaddressed. And it will be addressed. That’s what oversight is all about.
BRENNAN: Will you subpoena McCabe and Rosenstein to appear?
SEN. GRAHAM: How can I not, if that’s what it takes? I mean you’re doing your job. The first amendment allows you to ask questions of the most powerful people in the country. I know he’s selling a book, and we need to take with a grain of salt maybe what Mr. McCabe is telling us. But he went on national television and he made an accusation that floors me. You know, I can imagine if the shoe were on the other foot, this would- if we were talking about getting rid of President Clinton, it’d be front page news all over the world. Well we’re going to find out what happened here and the only way I know to find out is to call the people in under oath and find out, through questioning, who’s telling the truth because the underlying accusation is beyond stunning.
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