Is President Trump sending out "dog whistles" to some of his supporters? That's what former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe said he feared Friday night during an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher."
Maher had asked McCabe about remarks Trump made to Breitbart News earlier this week, specifically Trump's claim of having strong support from the nation's military, police and "bikers."
“It’s very disturbing and concerning," McCabe said. "I think he may be overestimating a bit how much support he has from the people and law enforcement and the military. The thing that concerns me the most about statements like that is not is what he means, but what that audience actually hears."
“Which audience are we talking about?” Maher asked
“So, those folks who are looking for the dog whistle and the coded language," McCabe responded. "They receive those wildly inappropriate and irresponsible texts and messages and statements and it concerns me how they interpret what they’re hearing. And they see that as some sort of call to action.”
Saturday marks the one-year anniversary of McCabe's firing by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In a Twitter message the following day, President Trump declared McCabe's ouster "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI."
On Friday, McCabe defended his former FBI colleagues and their investigation into Trump’s possible connections to Russia, insisting the work was not done “based on politics.” The former acting director, who will turn 51 on Monday, also defended the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
“What we found was clearly insufficient to base a request for a charge on,” McCabe said.
Maher also asked McCabe about allegations that Trump had ties to Russian organized crime in the 1990s and had laundered money for Russians.
“It’s entirely possible,” McCabe responded. “I can’t sit here and confirm with you tonight, but it is entirely possible.”
Other guests appearing on Maher's show Friday included former Tallahassee, Fla., Mayor Andrew Gillum, a Democrat who lost a bid for governor of Florida last year. Just hours before his appearance on Maher's show, Gillum had been inside a Los Angeles shopping mall when someone reported an active shooter.
"We are out. We are safe," Gillum tweeted later after authorities determined the reports of a gunman to be unfounded. "This is not normal."
Gillum's time as mayor (2014-2018) included at least one highly publicized shooting incident: Last August, an armed suspect entered a Tallahassee venue where a video game tournament was underway and began firing at attendees, killing two of them before killing himself.