Andrew McCabe, the Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, stepped down or was removed from his position Monday. The change at the top of the beleaguered agency comes amid a growing scandal concerning the apparent politicization of its senior ranks. McCabe, a member of former Director James Comey’s inner circle, was tarnished by several apparent conflicts of interest regarding his involvement in the investigation of Hillary Clinton and his role in the Russia investigation.
Although media outlets are framing McCabe’s departure as ‘stepping down,’ there are indications that he may have been forced or, at least, advised to leave his post. It is no secret that the Deputy Director may have intended to leave the Bureau once he had served sufficient time to qualify for full benefits. That term of service will be fulfilled in March and McCabe will use paid leave to serve out the remainder of that term.
The Clinton-McCabe Connection
McCabe oversaw the deeply flawed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as Secretary of State. Just months before he assumed that role, his wife had received a large donation from a Clinton loyalist for a political campaign in Virginia.
Doctor Jill McCabe was given more than $420,000 by a political action committee associated with Clinton and her staunch political ally Terry McCauliffe. The donation went to her failed campaign to win a seat in the Virginia state Senate. Despite the strong appearance of a conflict of interest, Andrew McCabe did not recuse himself from the Clinton investigation until one week before the 2016 presidential election – at which point, it seemed irrelevant and little more than a gesture to present the appearance of fairness.
FBI documents claim there was no conflict of interest, as the donation to Jill McCabe’s campaign was made prior to her husband’s involvement in the Clinton investigation. With only months separating the two events, however, it can be argued that the FBI’s conclusion deliberately confines the scope of ‘conflict of interest.’
What Did McCabe Know About The Anti-Trump ‘Insurance Policy’?
The exposure of text messages exchanged between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page further implicated McCabe in an apparent attempt by senior figures at the Bureau to influence the political direction of the federal government. That Strzok and Page were revealed as being pro-Clinton and contemptuous of President Donald Trump was never the most damning part of the story. Strzok, a top counter-intelligence specialist, was the lead investigator on the Clinton email server probe. His text messages to and from Page suggested an ‘insurance policy’ against Trump winning the election and hinted that such a policy could, possibly, have been discussed in Andrew McCabe’s office.
The FBI has now claimed that it cannot locate McCabe’s own text message for the period before the appointment of Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Those messages may reveal far more about the Deputy Director’s own role in what appears to be an attempt by government officials to bring down the Trump presidency.
The DOJ, The FBI, and The Soft Coup
The number of Department of Justice and FBI officials involved, directly or indirectly in this potential act of treason has yet to be revealed. From what has been discovered so far, FBI officials Strzok, Page and former Director Comey are among those close to the center of what is becoming the most shocking political scandal in American history.
Other potential co-conspirators are DOJ attorney Bruce Ohr, current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and McCabe himself. If Rosenstein and McCabe are not directly involved, then, certainly, they are both guilty of displaying an astonishing level of incompetence and poor judgment.
Whilst it is never wise to pronounce final judgment before the conclusion of an investigation, as James Comey will likely come to understand, there are now too many dots and the image emerging from the connecting of those dots is hard to ignore.
The special counsel investigation into potential Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election may have veered off course in an even more ambitious attempt to uncover a conspiracy that never existed. The very motive behind the creation of that special counsel, however, is now the subject of much skepticism. It seems more and more likely that a cabal of DOJ and FBI officials created the Russia investigation as a way to topple a president they despised. That cabal probably used the salacious and uncorroborated ‘Trump dossier’ to secure a warrant to conduct surveillance of at least one member of the Trump campaign.
Republicans on the House of Representatives Select Committee on Intelligence have composed a four-page memo which apparently details FBI abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The memo apparently implicates certain senior officials in what some have described as KGB-style tactics, in relation to surveillance of American citizens.
FBI Director Christopher Wray traveled to Capitol Hill Sunday to view the memo and the announcement of McCabe’s resignation – or removal – came less than 12 hours later. It is still not totally clear if McCabe chose to go or was advised to leave by Wray, who, it has been speculated, saw something in the memo that convinced him his deputy should be removed. Given, too, that McCabe’s departure came just hours before the House Intelligence Committee voted to reveal the memo’s contents, one can be forgiven for speculating that the now former FBI Deputy Director was, indeed, close to the center of – and a willing participant in – a crisis that may yet claim many more heads.