Senators slam FBI director for ‘unacceptable’ delay over McCabe texts

Senate Republican leaders on Tuesday slammed FBI Director Christopher Wray for a “simply unacceptable” delay in providing access to text messages sent by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley wrote to Wray that they have received just 24 pages of texts, despite the FBI making available to the Justice Department more than 300 pages.

“It is simply unacceptable that we have waited so long to receive so little,” Johnson (R-Wis.) and Grassley (R-Iowa) wrote.

The letter says Johnson’s committee “subpoenaed the FBI for all records related to” a probe of possible Trump campaign links to Russia and “[w]e have waited nearly 70 days to receive these text messages, and when records were actually produced, we received only eight percent of what we know exists.”

The first 24 pages of McCabe texts were provided to the committee Friday.

President Trump has been pushing for additional disclosures about the FBI’s Russia probe ahead of the Nov. 3 election. Last week, the Justice Department indicated that a long-awaited report from Connecticut US Attorney John Durham would not be released before the election, a bitter disappointment to Republicans.

The letter also comes as Trump expresses displeasure with Wray. Trump said last week that the FBI director, confirmed in 2017, “has been disappointing.”

“The American people deserve full transparency, and they have waited entirely too long — almost four years in some instances — for answers. In light of that history, it is astounding that the FBI can claim to need more time to identify and produce responsive records,” the senators’ letter says.

The letter included some of the McCabe texts, including McCabe communicating with reporters and discussing news clippings with then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who infamously swapped anti-Trump texts while having an affair with then-FBI official Peter Strzok.

The FBI did not immediately respond to a request for comment. McCabe attorney Michael Bromwich declined to comment through a spokeswoman.

McCabe is now a paid CNN contributor. The Russia investigation ultimately found no evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia, and the president routinely accuses McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey of being “dirty cops” who sought to stage a “coup” after Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election.

McCabe was acting FBI director during the initial phase of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and was the second-in-command when FBI agents, using an opposition research dossier financed by Clinton’s campaign, sought Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court orders to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.

McCabe‘s wife was a Democratic state senate candidate in Virginia in 2015 and received $467,500 from a political action committee run by close Clinton ally and former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

McCabe was fired in 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility after the Justice Department’s inspector general found he lied repeatedly to FBI agents and Comey about his decision to authorize a leak to the media.

Lying to the FBI is a crime punishable by five years in prison. Prosecutors reportedly recommended that McCabe be indicted, but he has not been charged and denies lying. Republicans often say McCabe‘s non-prosecution is unfair because former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI.

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