During Wednesday’s White House briefing, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders stated that the Russian interference investigation was “probably one of the smallest things” that the FBI is currently working on.
At Thursday’s Senate hearing, the acting FBI director disagreed with Huckabee Sanders’ suggestion, and called the investigation into alleged Trump campaign collusion a “highly significant investigation.”
When asked by Senator Marco Rubio if Comey’s firing would impact the investigation, McCabe stated that “you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing: Protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution.”
Moscow has dismissed all allegations of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election as “absurd.”
McCabe also contradicted claims that Comey had lost support within the FBI, saying that he "enjoyed broad support" within the agency.
McCabe is now in charge of the investigation into Trump’s supposed Moscow ties; meanwhile, his wife, Jill McCabe, accepted a $467,000 donation from an ally of Trump’s presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, while running for Senate in 2015.
Last week, Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about his concerns over McCabe’s financial ties to McAuliffe.
"Public reports of his meeting with a longtime Clinton and Democrat party fundraiser, Governor Terry McAuliffe [Va.], and his wife’s subsequent campaign for public office being substantially funded by McAuliffe’s organization raise serious questions about his ability to appear impartial," Grassley wrote in the letter.
Grassley also asserted that McCabe is under investigation by the Department of Justice's inspector general "for failing to recuse himself from the Clinton investigation due to his meeting with McAuliffe."
"The financial and political links between Mr. McCabe and Gov. McAuliffe raise concerns about the appearance of impartiality in the course of not only the Clinton investigation, but the reported McAuliffe investigation, and the ongoing investigation of alleged ties between associates of Mr. Trump and Russia," Grassley continued.