Former Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Andrew McCabe recently went on record to promote his new book and to paint himself as a patriot who worked to oust a sitting U.S. president because he felt it was the right thing to do.
His interview, on the CBS show 60 Minutes, was a less-than-convincing performance, however. The man who had already lost his job for lying – on more than one occasion – to federal investigators failed to make a convincing case that his account of the events that followed President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey was accurate. He also failed to provide any legal justification for his decision to open an investigation of the president for Comey’s firing.
DAG Rosenstein Thrown Under the Bus?
In the course of the shamefully softball interview, the former FBI number two made assertions that do not hold up to the light of reality or rationality. Perhaps more consequentially, he used the opportunity to throw Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein under the bus. Perhaps – if McCabe is honest – this is a bus Rosenstein deserves to be under, but if the former FBI official’s version of events is untrue, he may well have ended Rosenstein’s career and, quite possibly, placed him in legal jeopardy in order to escape the consequences of his, McCabe’s, actions.
According to McCabe, Rosenstein broached the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record conversations with the president. The deputy attorney general suggested the idea not just once but twice, according to McCabe. Rosenstein also suggested, claims McCabe, that the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office should be explored and that it would be worth finding out how many Cabinet members would go along with the idea.
For his part, Rosenstein has denied the claims made by McCabe, so one of these two men is lying. If McCabe is telling the truth – which seems unlikely, given his track record – then the deputy attorney general is guilty of sedition as outlined in 18 U.S. Code § 2384. So is McCabe himself, however, since he at least was willing to hear Rosenstein out and did not take any action over the seditious plan. At the very least, McCabe would be considered an accessory to this proposed crime against the elected president.
Driven by Emotion, Not by Facts
A man of McCabe’s experience and training should be more adept at choosing his words carefully, but, much like his former boss, Comey – and former senior FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page – McCabe demonstrated that his hatred for Trump clouds his every word and action. Recounting an alleged exchange with Trump, during which the president claimed FBI employees were happy that Comey had been stripped of his position, McCabe said that, in fact, the vast majority of FBI employees liked and admired their director and were in shock when he was fired.
This statement from McCabe reeks of the kind of careless inaccuracy for which Trump is often criticized by his opponents. The FBI employs some 35,000 people, and the vast majority of them had never met Comey or knew enough about him to like or dislike him, admire or despise him. Obviously, McCabe himself betrays an elitist attitude common among senior government officials.
Quite simply, McCabe is unable to consider as relevant the views of anyone beneath the senior tier of the Bureau. He is sure that the “majority” of FBI agents had a positive view of Comey because that was the prevailing view, so he believed, of those in the small circle within which he moved. The idea that McCabe himself is in a position to speak for the majority of FBI employees is as ridiculous as Trump’s alleged claim that most of the Bureau’s employees were happy to see Comey go. Neither man can credibly claim to have such knowledge.
…McCabe may have broken federal law during the 60 Minutes interview…
On the subject of interactions with the president, it is also noteworthy that McCabe may have broken federal law during the 60 Minutes interview by disclosing details of a national security briefing provided to the president and the president’s reaction to the information provided.
Throughout the interview, McCabe refers to emotions and suppositions rather than solid facts. Things “may have” happened, he believed, even though he had no evidence that those things had happened. Like every other supposedly seminal moment in the fictional saga of the Russia conspiracy, the McCabe interview was a bust. The former deputy director failed to reveal a single fact that lends any more credibility to an investigation that already has so little credibility it would be laughable were it not so consequential.
Rather, McCabe helped to confirm the suspicions of the president, his allies, and supporters: that a clique of unelected bureaucrats in the senior ranks of the federal government desperate to bring an end to the Trump presidency was willing to consider drastic measures to achieve that goal.
The 60 Minutes interview may help McCabe sell more books than he otherwise would have, but it exposed him for who he really is: a man who, like his friend and former director, was preoccupied with an intense dislike of the man who became president. This dislike led him to cast aside accepted FBI and Justice Department protocols, as well as the basic rules of investigation, especially that evidence of a possible crime is the very basis of an investigation, rather than the vague idea that a crime may have been committed.
Americans who truly care about the rule of law and abuse of power by unelected officials can only hope that now both McCabe and Rosenstein will be compelled to explain themselves truthfully to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Perhaps – finally – there will be an accounting, and whichever one of the two men is lying will ultimately face the most severe penalties allowed by law.