Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee May 11 and stated that the firing of former Director James Comey would not hinder the Bureau's investigation into whether members of the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian intelligence to subvert the 2016 presidential election.
Previously serving as the FBI deputy director, he assumed the top rank after Comey's dismissal and will lead the Bureau until a successor is confirmed.
When McCabe was queried on whether Comey's dismissal would halt the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign, he stated that the probe would continue unabated, USA Today reports.
"Simply put, you cannot not stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing,'' McCabe said. "We don't curtail our activities. We continue to focus on our mission to get the job done.''
The acting director added that the FBI viewed the Trump campaign investigation as "highly significant."
McCabe's comments contradicted the assertions made by White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
On May 10, Sanders told reporters that the Trump campaign investigation was of minimal importance to the FBI, according to White House records.
"I know everybody in this room and probably most of the media around the world would like to think that’s the FBI’s sole responsibility, but that's probably one of the smallest things that they’ve got going on their plate, and the 20,000 employees that work there," Sanders said.
The deputy press secretary also stated that Comey "no longer had the confidence of the president or the rest of the FBI."
McCabe contradicted this point, as well, telling the Senate panel that the majority of the FBI supported Comey "to this day."
"I have worked very closely with Director Comey, and I can tell you that I hold Director Comey in the absolute highest regard," McCabe said.
The acting director noted that a group of agents were displeased when Comey declined to recommend charges against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and "were very vocal about their concerns."
McCabe pledged that he would alert the SIC in the event that the Trump administration took any action to obstruct the FBI probe into the Trump campaign.
Serving in the FBI since 1996, McCabe had been involved in investigating the 2013 Boston Marathon terrorist attack and interrogating a suspect from the Benghazi terrorist attack.
"Anybody who is a detractor of McCabe's career probably has a few holes in their professional portfolio," James Gagliano, a former superior of the acting director, told The New York Times. "There are handful of guys I can attribute this to: His character is unimpeachable."