Mueller is in possession of Andrew McCabe's memos documenting his conversations with Trump and Comey

  • Special counsel Robert Mueller is in possession of several memos from former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe documenting his conversations with President Donald Trump and then-FBI director James Comey.
  • The memos could go a long way in bolstering Mueller's obstruction case against Trump.
  • But more importantly, the memos' very existence is significant because it indicates McCabe believed his conversations with Trump were problematic enough to warrant documentation, in case he later had to testify about them in court.

The special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained several memos written by former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe which document his conversations with President Donald Trump and former FBI director James Comey, CNN reported.

Mueller has also interviewed McCabe about Comey's firing, according to a CNN source who declined to say when the interview occurred.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe late Friday night, hours before he was set to retire with full pension benefits. The move came amid an internal Department of Justice investigation which found that McCabe had approved unauthorized disclosures to the media about the Hillary Clinton email investigation, and later was not entirely forthcoming about the incident.

McCabe said in a statement after his firing that he felt he had been "singled out" and targeted because of the events he witnessed in the aftermath of Comey's firing. 

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe
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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe
Newly installed acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: From left, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, appear during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled 'World Wide Threats' on May 11, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, speaks during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, USA on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: A binder containing classified material marked Secret sits on the witness table in front of Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, United States on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe arrives for a meeting with members of the Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees in the Rayburn House Office Building December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee for ten hours on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (L) and Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Andrew McCabe (R) during a press conference at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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The former FBI deputy director's memos documenting some of those circumstances could serve a number of significant purposes in Mueller's investigation, particularly as it relates to the obstruction-of-justice thread, which focuses on whether Trump sought to hamper the Russia investigation when he fired Comey last year.

Before he was dismissed, Comey compiled several of his own memos documenting his conversations with Trump. According to the memos and Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last June, Trump repeatedly asked the FBI director for his loyalty and to drop the bureau's investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. 

Comey gave no indication that he would do so, and he was later fired. Mueller is in possession of Comey's memos.

McCabe was one of three top FBI officials whom Comey apprised of his conversations with Trump while he was FBI director. McCabe's memos, some of which document his conversations with Comey about Trump, could serve as a way to corroborate Comey's account of his interactions with the president, thereby bolstering the obstruction case against Trump.

McCabe's and Comey's memos are not, in and of themselves, admissible evidence in court. Rather, their significance stems from their very existence.

FBI agents are trained to compile detailed memos of conversations immediately after the fact so that they can be as accurate as possible, according to former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti. Those memos can later be used to refresh their memory in the event that they have to testify about the conversations during a trial.

More importantly, Mariotti wrote, the existence of McCabe's memos indicates he "thought Trump said something so problematic that he believed it was important for him to write contemporaneous memos of their conversations."

"It is odd for an FBI Director or Deputy Director to write private memos of his conversations with the President," he wrote. "This news suggests McCabe thought that he might later need to testify about those conversations in court."

McCabe's memos could also help the special counsel determine Trump's mindset in the hours after he fired Comey. 

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Former FBI Director James Comey is sworn in prior to testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 8: People watch a ticker tape display showing headlines of the days news that former FBI Director James Comey will testify at a Senate hearingon Russia and U.S. President Donald Trump on June 8, 2017 in New York City. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images)
The witness table where former FBI Director James Comey will face the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee and testify on June 8 about his meetings with President Trump sits at the ready in Washington, U.S., June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Senator Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina and chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, center delivers opening remarks before the start of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Comey in prepared remarks to the committee said U.S. President Donald Trump sought his loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
TOPSHOT - Former FBI Director James Comey arrives to testify during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
People wait in line hours aheads of time for the start of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 08: Former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara attends the Senate Intelligence Committee where FBI Director James Comey is sent to testify in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill June 8, 2017 in Washington, DC. Comey said that President Donald Trump pressured him to drop the FBI's investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and demanded Comey's loyalty during the one-on-one meetings he had with president. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Former FBI Director James Comey prepares to testify before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on "Russian Federation Efforts to Interfere in the 2016 U.S. Elections" on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jim Bourg
People wait in line hours aheads of time for the start of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. June 8, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Preparations are made before former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
James Comey, former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), is sworn in to a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Comey in prepared remarks to the committee said U.S. President Donald Trump sought his loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The gavel and placard for Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, sit on a table in the hearing room ahead of testimony by former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Comey in prepared remarks to the committee said U.S. President Donald Trump sought his loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former FBI Director James Comey testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, June 8, 2017. Fired FBI director James Comey took the stand Thursday in a crucial Senate hearing, repeating explosive allegations that President Donald Trump badgered him over the highly sensitive investigation Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Capitol police officers stand outside the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing room ahead of testimony by former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Director James Comey in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, June 8, 2017. Comey in prepared remarks to the committee said U.S. President Donald Trump sought his loyalty and urged him to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Photographer: Zach Gibson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Former FBI Director James Comey arrives to testify during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Senator Mark Warner(C)D-VA and Vice Chairman, Intelligence Committee and Senator Richard Burr(R), Chairman, Intelligence Committee greet former FBI Director James Comey as he arrives to testify during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Former FBI Director James Comey takes the oath before he testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Former FBI Director James Comey takes the oath before he testifies during a US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington,DC, June 8, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump named McCabe acting FBI director following Comey's departure. NBC News reported in January that Trump called McCabe immediately after Comey's firing and began mocking his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, and her failed bid for a Virginia state Senate seat in 2015. 

According to the report, Trump called McCabe after becoming furious that Comey used a government-funded plane to travel from Los Angeles to Washington, DC after learning of his firing.

Multiple people familiar with the call told NBC News that Trump had demanded to know why Comey was allowed to take such a flight, and that McCabe told the president he had not been asked to authorize the flight but would have if he were.

Trump then reportedly went silent for a moment, before suggesting McCabe ask his wife how it felt to be a loser, sources told NBC News. 

McCabe responded, "OK, sir," and Trump hung up the phone.

Later, during an Oval Office meeting that was meant to be a meet-and-greet session following Comey's firing, Trump reportedly asked McCabe whom he voted for in the 2016 US election.

One former official told The Washington Post McCabe had found the question "disturbing."

He also remarked on McCabe's wife's political campaign and the fact that she had received donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and a super PAC operated by former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend of Hillary Clinton's.

In the following months, Trump would frequently revisit that line of attack against McCabe, repeatedly tying his wife's campaign to Clinton, and painting that as evidence that McCabe could not be impartial in the Clinton email probe, and that he was biased against Trump.

McCabe wasn't in charge of the Clinton investigation at the time, and didn't take on an "oversight role" in the probe until February 2016, long after his wife lost her election bid.

The FBI also released a trove of internal emails and documents in January that confirmed McCabe was not warned against becoming involved in the Clinton investigation but recused himself anyway following a Wall Street Journal report about political donations to his wife's campaign.

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