Andrew McCabe asserts that the Obama administration pressured the FBI to possibly assist the Hilary Clinton during the 2016 campaign. Where will this investigation lead?
Former FBI Director James Comey recently said this about his friend and former deputy Andrew McCabe: “I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do.” The two then got into a dispute about who was telling the truth.
What does that mean?
Here’s the story.
Mr. McCabe was fired earlier last month by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Mr. McCabe’s firing was seen by Democrats as an attack on the FBI and on Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. Mr McCabe started a GoFundMe account and quickly raised half a million dollars for legal defense.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal described the firing as “evidence of obstruction of justice.”
NBC commentator Chuck Todd volunteered: “I think it signals this president is no longer cooperating with Mueller. It’s time for war.”
President Trump tweeted that Mr. McCabe’s firing was a “great day for Democracy”?
Then the story became more complicated.
First, it became known Mr. Session relied upon an independent review, under a career FBI manager appointed by Robert Mueller, influenced by a Department of Justice report under an Inspector General appointed by President Obama to fire Mr. McCabe.
The FBI concluded that Mr. McCabe had “lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple occasions” when he was asked about authorizing staff to leak information about an ongoing investigation to reporters.
There has been a criminal referral in all this and Mr. McCabe may be indicted. If he faces trial, part of his defense may well be that his prosecution is politically-motivated and President Trump’s idiotic tweet will be offered as evidence.
A question however that needs more attention is this: What did Andrew McCabe lie about?
That’s where it gets interesting.
The FBI and the Department of Justice concluded that Mr. McCabe lied when he denied authorizing a leak.
What was the leak about?
Here’s some background. Mr. McCabe’s wife had run for state office in Virginia in 2015 and had received donations of over $600,000 from sources linked to Hillary Clinton. Even in modern America’s money-driven campaigning, that’s a lot of money for an in-state race.
At the time, Mr. McCabe was a high-level FBI official and was subsequently placed in charge of investigating the Hillary Clinton private email server scandal. He began to see his objectivity called into question by some in the media and also by his boss Mr. Comey.
Mr. McCabe decided to rebut the assertion of his bias by leaking that he had stood up to pressure from an official in the Obama Department of Justice to stand down on an investigation of the Clinton Foundation in August of 2016.
You read that right: Mr. McCabe maintains that the Obama administration pressured the FBI in the interest of Hillary Clinton during the final stages of the 2016 campaign.
In the leak, Mr. McCabe maintains that he pushed back. Various FBI agents maintain however that he did issue a stand down order.
Here’s what a real investigation would now do: Indict Mr. McCabe for lying to the FBI, bargain with him to try to find out who exactly pressured him (some media reports already identify the official), pressure that official with the possibility of prosecution and work up the chain of command to see where in the Obama Justice Department the idea started of tilting the FBI away from a vulnerable area for Mrs. Clinton.
This might shed light on other potentially partisan campaign activity by the Obama Justice Department, particularly in the investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s private server investigation:
• President Obama’s statements dismissing the scandal while the investigation was taking place
• Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s instruction to Mr. Comey to call this a “matter,” not an investigation;
• No grand jury.
• No subpoenas.
• Allowing witnesses to sit in on each other’s FBI interviews.
• Allowing suspects to represent each other.
• Allowing the destruction of emails and laptops.
• An unannounced meeting between Ms. Lynch and Bill Clinton a few days before the “matter” was dropped.
• Mr. Comey’s stated reason for not recommending prosecution of Mrs. Clinton was that she lacked “intent” to violate the laws even though the laws in question call for punishment whether or not violations were intentional.
We have been investigating alleged collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. What about collusion between the Department of Justice and the Clinton campaign?
Whether we learn any more about the latter is one of the remaining stories of the 2016 campaign and that may depend on Andrew McCabe.
If he has to consider expensive legal representation and even possibly a jail term, Mr. McCabe might think on this: James Comey has thrown him under the bus.