After he abruptly fired James Comey as head of the FBI in May 2017, President Donald Trump blasted the bureau’s former deputy director Andrew McCabe—who abruptly departed on Monday—and insulted McCabe’s wife when Comey flew back to Washington, D.C. on a FBI plane, NBC News reported Monday.
NBC News reported, citing multiple unnamed sources familiar with Trump’s call to McCabe, that Trump demanded to know why the newly terminated Comey was traveling on a government-funded plane.
McCabe told Trump that nobody had asked him to authorize Comey’s travel on an FBI plane, NBC News reported, citing three unnamed sources familiar with the call, but McCabe said that he would have given Comey the green light if they had.
According to the report, Trump then told McCabe to ask his wife what it felt like to be a loser. (Dr. Jill McCabe, the former deputy director’s wife, unsuccessfully ran for state office in Virginia in 2015.)
Per NBC News, McCabe replied, “OK, sir,” and Trump then hung up.
The White House and FBI did not comment to NBC News.
After Trump abruptly fired Comey in May 2017, news helicopters tracked his motorcade down the highway in Los Angeles, where Comey was scheduled to meet and speak to prospective FBI recruits. He cancelled the appearance and returned to Washington, D.C. after learning of his own termination from TV news.
It was not clear that Trump knew Comey was out of town, as his longtime aide Keith Schiller, who left the White House in November 2017, first attempted to hand-deliver a termination letter to the FBI’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“I don’t think anybody had thought about how he’d get home,” an unnamed senior White House official who was present for Comey’s dismissal told NBC News.
NBC News first reported on Monday that McCabe is stepping down as deputy director of the FBI, but will officially remain at the bureau until the middle of March, when he will be able to retire with full benefits.