Senator Lindsey Graham, chairman of the US Senate Judiciary Committee, has vowed to investigate allegations that top FBI and justice department officials discussed ways to remove President Trump from office.
Ex-acting FBI chief Andrew McCabe said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had talks in 2017 about a constitutional clause that allows the removal of a president if deemed unfit.
The pledge by Mr Graham, a Republican who has become one of the president’s biggest defenders, comes after McCabe appeared on US broadcaster CBS saying Mr Rosenstein discussed the numbers needed to invoke the clause, known as the 25th Amendment to the US constitution.
In the explosive 60 Minutes interview aired on Sunday, Mr McCabe also said that the FBI “had reason to investigate” the president’s links with Russia, based on Mr Trump’s actions
He alleged that Mr Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin had told him North Korea did not have the capability to hit the US with ballistic missiles – and, when US intelligence officials contradicted this assessment, responded with: “I don’t care. I believe Putin”
The White House said Mr McCabe who was fired by Trump last year for lying to government investigators, had “no credibility”.
Reacting to the interview, Senator Graham pledged to hold a hearing at the Senate Judiciary Committee to determine “who’s telling the truth” and that he could issue subpoenas “if that’s what it takes”.
“It’s stunning to me that one of the chief law enforcement officers of the land would go on national television and say, oh by the way I remember a conversation with the deputy attorney general about trying to find if we could replace the president under the 25th Amendment,” he told CBS.
“I think everybody in the country needs to know if it happened. I’m going to do everything I can to get to the bottom of Department of Justice [and] FBI behaviour toward President Trump and his campaign.”