Andrew McCabe Acknowledges ‘Mistakes’ In Trump Campaign Investigation As He Pushes Warrantless Surveillance Tool


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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday acknowledged errors in the investigation of former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign as he pushed for a warrantless surveillance tool’s renewal.

The FBI used a document containing opposition research on Trump to earn approval from a secret court that oversees the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to secretly monitor campaign aide Carter Page, according to CNN. The House of Representatives on Wednesday blocked a bill to reauthorize Section 702 of FISA, with April 19 being the deadline to do so, but McCabe on “CNN Newsroom With Jim Acosta” advocated to renew it while admitting the act has led to misuse. (RELATED: FBI Agents Misused FISA Data To Surveil ‘Political Party,’ US Congressman, Audit Finds)



“Donald Trump is really confusing the issue. FISA is a big law. It has a lot of different sections. Part of it is used against people here in the United States,” McCabe told host Jim Acosta. “You go to the court for a warrant to enable you to do electronic surveillance. That’s not what we’re talking about. Section 702 is only used to capture the communications when people meet three criteria. You have to be a foreign person in a foreign place and the purpose of the collection has to be to get foreign intelligence. It is our primary vision into what terrorists, spies and people who use weapons of mass destruction and nation states that use cyber tools against us, what they’re doing overseas.”

The FBI cited the now-discredited Steele Dossier, which accused Trump of links to Russia, extensively in its FISA applications to surveil his campaign despite investigators’ inability to verify the allegations.

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith pled guilty in August 2020 to altering a June 2017 email he received from a CIA employee regarding Page in draft applications for warrants under FISA.

Donald Trump: Evan El-Amin/

Donald Trump: Evan El-Amin/ 2016 Campaign Event

“It is an incredibly valuable tool, but what makes it different from regular FISA is there are no warrants,” McCabe added. “And the reason for that is you don‘t have to go to court and get a warrant because people, foreign people in foreign places, are not protected by our constitution or our Fourth Amendment, so that’s what makes it different. That’s the thing that‘s expiring on the 19th. And it is absolutely essential that we get it renewed.”

“There is no truth or accuracy in that post at all, 702 authorities were never used in the course of that investigation of Donald Trump and his campaign and some of his campaign associates,” McCabe said. “He may be referring to the FISA that was used, that [was] obtained to surveil Carter Page. We now know there were many mistakes in that FISA. Those are all regrettable, but that is not Section 702. Totally different thing here.”


The FBI conducted around 5 million warrantless searches of Americans from 2019 to 2022 and “there was little justification” for them, according to a September report by the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

McCabe in 2018 got fired from his position as deputy director after an inspector general’s report accused him of lying about media leaks. The firing got reversed in 2021 after a legal settlement.

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