The Jury Talks Back


The Apparently Looming Indictment of Andrew McCabe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Patterico @ 7:30 am

The New York Times recently reported:

Federal prosecutors in Washington appear to be in the final stages of deciding whether to seek an indictment of Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy F.B.I. director and a frequent target of President Trump, on charges of lying to federal agents, according to interviews with people familiar with recent developments in the investigation.

In two meetings last week, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who is expected to be involved in the decision about whether to prosecute, and for more than an hour with the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, according to a person familiar with the meetings. The person would not detail the discussions, but defense lawyers typically meet with top law enforcement officials to try to persuade them not to indict their client if they failed to get line prosecutors to drop the case.

Such meetings are indeed a strong indication of a possible indictment. I am no fan of Andrew McCabe, as this excerpt from a post I wrote after he was fired should make clear:

You might remember that in October 2016, before the election, I was ranting about the fact that a Terry McAuliffe PAC had donated almost half a million to McCabe’s’s wife’s election campaign . . . and yet McCabe had not recused himself from the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Granted, it’s not crystal clear that McCabe acted as a purely partisan warrior there. If you believe the leaks that he authorized to be made to the Wall Street Journal, he pushed for an investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Then again, as the Washington Post notes today, that same story demonstrated that “some FBI officials thought [McCabe] was standing in the way of the Clinton Foundation investigation.”

The point is, if Hillary Clinton’s bag man Terry McAuliffe was delivering sacks of cash to his wife, McCabe had no business ever being anywhere in the chain of command over anything having to do with Hillary Clinton — not the email investigation, not the Clinton Foundation, not any of it. I don’t care that his wife had already lost by the time he became deputy director. The consideration had already been given, and he should have recused himself — yet he didn’t do so until November 1, 2016, which was far too late. I’m not sure whether that failure alone is grounds for termination, but it brought discredit on the FBI. And new evidence that McCabe may have been less than forthright about whether he attended his wife’s campaign events and so forth only contribute to the suspicion.

Let’s place to the side for the moment the laughable fact that McCabe recently signed up to be a CNN contributor, and talk about the ways that Donald Trump has been endangering any possible prosecution of McCabe. Donald Trump is in charge of federal law enforcement, and he has been harshly criticizing McCabe for years. Here are just a few representative tweets:

Regardless of the strength of any possible criminal case against McCabe, it remains extraordinarily unseemly for the head of federal law enforcement to be saying such things, and causes observers to wonder whether any potential indictment is a result of the strength of the case, or a political hit job carried out to please the President of the United States.

The fact that Trump does this kind of thing all the time does not make it less poisonous, but more so. One of the worst things about Trump is his penchant for undermining confidence in law enforcement — both by wildly criticizing law enforcement when it investigates his wrongdoing, and in his continual assumption that law enforcement officials exist to act as his personal political henchmen. And if you don’t like McCabe (as I don’t), and if you think McCabe ought to be prosecuted (as to which I express no opinion), you might even find yourself offended by the fact that Trump is giving McCabe a colorable defense that the apparently imminent prosecution is political and vindictive.

This lout needs to shut his mouth. Of course, he won’t, ever, which is yet another reason why his departure from office needs to be a priority for people who care about the justice system.

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