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Trump tweets criticism of FBI while supporters allege conflict

President Donald Trump turns to talk to the

President Donald Trump turns to talk to the gathered media during a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the mIlitary at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. Credit: AP / Carolyn Kaster

President Donald Trump on Sunday further criticized FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as the president’s supporters continued to allege conflicts of interest and bias within the agency.

Trump has seized on reports that in 2015, McCabe’s wife,, Dr. Jill McCabe who was then a candidate for the Virginia State Senate, received $700,000 in payments from the Virginia State Democratic Party and a political action committee linked to Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Virginia’s governor. McCabe subsequently became the FBI’s deputy director and gained responsibilities over the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server when she was secretary of state.

Trump targeted McCabe in weekend tweets amid reports that McCabe plans to retire in 90 days, when he’s fully vested in his pension. McCabe spent hours behind closed doors on Capitol Hill last week being grilled by lawmakers on two separate committees as part of a new investigation of the FBI and the 2016 Clinton email probe, The Associated Press reported. His role supervising the email investigation has come under renewed scrutiny.

Trump tweeted Sunday: “@FoxNews-FBI’s Andrew McCabe, ‘in addition to his wife getting all of this money from M (Clinton Puppet), he was using, allegedly, his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. You obviously cannot do this. These were the people who were investigating Hillary Clinton.’ ”

White House Legislative Director Marc Short, speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” said “I think the president believes that the American people have a right to know as to what happened with that investigation.” He emphasized Trump was cooperating with the probe led by FBI special counsel Robert Mueller, who’s leading the investigation into whether Russians colluded with the Trump campaign during the 2016 election.

“But I think it’s also important to segregate that and separate it from the special counsel, because the White House is cooperating every single way with that investigation,” Short added. “And after millions and millions of dollars, no collusion has been proven.”

Trump appointed FBI Director Christopher Wray earlier this year after firing ex-director James Comey in May. Trump earlier this month tweeted that the FBI was in “Tatters.”

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said McCabe should “step aside” because of apparent conflicts of interest.

King, on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” said donations to the campaign of McCabe’s wife “appear to be conflicts of interest. It’s best for everyone if he steps aside.”

He added that criticism of the FBI for pro-Clinton conflicts was aimed at a few members. “What we’re really talking about is the top,” he said.

Democrats have said they worry that attacks on McCabe and the FBI are precursors to Trump firing Mueller.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Sunday said Trump firing Mueller would be disastrous.

“To say the least, I think it would be provoking a constitutional crisis,” Sanders said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), speaking on ABC’s “This Week” in a prerecorded interview, said that if Trump were to fire Mueller, “then that would be a big problem. A big problem. And I don’t think that would go over well at all here in the Senate. I don’t think he’ll go there, he shouldn’t go there.

“We shouldn’t participate in the undermining of our institutions that way,” he said.

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