Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told a Senate panel on Thursday that it was not accurate that the rank-and-file members of the agency had lost faith in former Director James Comey, refuting a justification made by the Trump administration for firing him.
Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, asked McCabe whether there was any truth to the White House’s claim that FBI employees had lost confidence in Comey. McCabe was pointed in his response.
“That is not accurate,” he said. “I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard, I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and his integrity, and it has been the greatest privilege and honor of my professional life to work with him.”
McCabe continued, adding that Comey was respected throughout the FBI.
“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” McCabe said. “We are a large organization. We are 36,500 people across this country, across this globe. We have a diversity of opinions about many things. But I can confidently tell you that the majority—the vast majority—of FBI employees enjoyed a deep and positive connection to Director Comey.”
McCabe’s comments seemingly contradict claims made by Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who on Wednesday said Comey had “lost the confidence” of “rank-and-file” FBI employees.
“I think it’s real simple, Director Comey had lost the confidence of the rank-and-file within the FBI. He’d certainly, I think, lost the confidence from members of both sides, Republicans and Democrats in the House and the Senate, and frankly, most importantly … he’d lost the confidence of the American people,” Huckabee Sanders said.
On Wednesday Politico reported that some agents were in tears when they heard of Comey’s firing. In the same report, agents told Politico that there was a palpable sense of shock and anger throughout the Bureau.
Watch Huckabee Sanders’ comments about Comey here: