Should Andrew McCabe have been fired? I haven’t seen the Inspector General report, and so I don’t know if Andrew McCabe lied (or, I’m sorry, “lacked candor under oath” in speaking to) investigators for the Inspector General. I agree with David French, who says:
I note that it seems from McCabe’s statement alone that he was aware that he was, shall we say, not entirely accurate in his initial statements. He says things like:
I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them. . . . to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair.
Yeah, well, I’ll wryly note that blaming falsehoods on chaos is an excuse that doesn’t usually work so well when offered as a defense by people prosecuted for telling falsehoods to McCabe’s erstwhile employer.
So it seems that McCabe himself acknowledges that he got some things wrong, at a minimum. But to run around claiming he lied, based on evidence we haven’t seen . . . I’ll leave that to others who feel comfortable taking that position. I don’t. Yet.
But that doesn’t mean McCabe is beyond reproach, by a longshot.
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.
Whether that means it was appropriate to take hints from Trump and rush to release an investigation seemingly for the express purpose of stripping this guy of his pension, I’m not so sure. Again, I’m taking the unpopular position that we ought to know the facts before opining. (I know, right? Saying that on a blog is such a buzzkill.) But I’m no fan of Andrew McCabe. That I can tell you.
Speaking of recusals, Trump’s lawyer (first claiming to speak on behalf of Trump and then walking that back) this morning connected McCabe’s firing to Russiagate. If the real reason for McCabe’s firing was Russiagate, then why was Jeff Sessions (who recused from the Russia investigation) involved? At this point we have nothing beyond Trump’s idiot lawyer’s statement — although Trump did spike the ball over McCabe’s firing with a gusto that seems . . . over-the-top given the stated reasons for it.
John Sexton at Hot Air says that “the reactions to the [McCabe] firing are falling into two distinct camps” — one casting McCabe as victim (pro-Trump) and one casting him as hero (anti-Trump). Well, of course. Reactions to all issues in American life, from Senate races to whether Americans should watch football games, eventually fall into pro-Trump and anti-Trump camps. But I’m not much of a joiner and I never went to camp. So I’ll just note that all of these things can be true:
1. Donald Trump did not “collude” with Russia to hack emails.
2. Donald Trump is smearing Mueller and good people at the FBI to discredit the Russia investigation.
3. McCabe was a rotten apple who deserved to go.
I’m not saying any of these things is necessarily true. But they all could be.
[Cross-posted at RedState and The Jury Talks Back.]