Andrew McCabe is out. Fired. It’s two days before he would retire and draw a pension and he’s been let go. Those who are against Trump for the sake of being against him, are lamenting this as cruel and heartless and oh woe is McCabe.
The truth is, it was the right thing to do. It doesn’t matter how close to retirement he was. (and honestly, do you think they’d be throwing any less of a fit if he had a year or more left before retirement? No.)
The news has gone on all day Saturday with people reacting and comments being made and statements being issued, but there is still the great debate about whether or not it was the right thing to do. But that question should not hinge on whether or not you like President Trump.
EVEN IF you stipulate that his tweet showboating about the firing was ill-advised and calls his own personal motives into question, that should have no bearing on whether you are able to logically process whether or not it was the correct decision. Which, again, it was.
How do we know that? Here’s five reasons anyone can understand:
1: This is what the FBI wanted.
You remember the FBI. They are that inviolable and beyond criticism organization that Democrats have been canonizing and defending to the death for the last year or so? The one that Trump is “at war” with? That FBI?
That’s the FBI that wanted McCabe fired. The Office of Personal Responsibility recommended it to Attorney General Sessions. The IG investigation was prompted by Democrats and praised by McCabe’s own attorney a year ago. The result of that investigation was a report recommending the firing of Deputy Director McCabe.
Here is how Sessions characterized the report, which is not yet published publicly.
After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.
THIS WAS WHAT THE FBI WANTED TO HAPPEN, BOTH FOR GOOD ORDER AND DISCIPLINE, AND TO SET AN EXAMPLE. ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS COMPLIED WITH THEIR RECOMMENDATION.
2: His behavior warranted firing, even without the OPR recommendation.
What was it that McCabe did wrong? It wasn’t “investigate Trump”, though you might think that from the MSM coverage.
One report that is being repeated across social media is McCabe lamenting Trump mentioning his wife. “In May, when Director Comey was fired and I had my own interactions with the President, he brought up my wife every time I ever spoke to him,” he complained.
But that was an entirely justifiable topic. As Judicial Watch has reported, McCabe not only failed to recuse himself when there was a clear conflict of interest with his wife’s campaign, but the record indicates a grim shadow of quid pro quo:
On October 24, 2016, a memo was sent to all Special Agents in Charge, Assistant Directors, Executive Directors and the General Counsel’s Office regarding the Wall Street Journal article discussing campaign activities concerning Mrs. McCabe. Kortan suggested that questions could be referred to his office and he attached an “Overview of Deputy Director McCabe’s Recusal Related To Dr. McCabe’s Campaign for Political Office.” The Overview itself was previously reported by Judicial Watch.
The documents also show repeated use of the official FBI email system in connection with Mrs. McCabe’s political campaign. For example:
- On March 13, 2015, Mrs. McCabe emails to her husband’s official FBI email account a draft press release announcing her run for state Senate.
- In August 2015, McCabe uses his official FBI email account to advise a redacted recipient to visit his wife’s campaign website: “Jill has been busy as hell since she decided to run for VA state senate (long story). Check her out on Facebook as Dr. Jill McCabe for Senate.”
- On November 2, 2015, Mrs. McCabe forwards an email to her husband – then the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Office – that accuses her opponent of extorting local businessmen. The email was sent to her husband’s official FBI account.
The documents include an October 2016 letter from House Government Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to McCabe questioning a possible conflict of interest by noting that Clinton headlined a Virginia fundraiser on June 26, 2015, for Mrs. McCabe. “A significant amount was donated after the FBI had initiated its investigation and begun meeting with Secretary Clinton’s attorneys in August 2015.”
The documents also show that FBI leadership was sensitive to reports of FBI internal dissent with then-Director Comey’s handling of the Clinton investigation. On October 24, 2016, Mrs. McCabe forwarded to Director McCabe a True Pundit article titled, “FBI Director Lobbied Against Criminal Charges For Hillary After Clinton Insider Paid His Wife $700,00.” The story reported that former FBI Executive Assistant Director John Giacalone resigned in the middle of the Clinton email investigation because he saw it going “sideways” and that Jill McCabe received money from a PAC headed by McAuliffe, who was under investigation by the FBI for campaign finance law violations. McCabe forwarded the article to Comey, noting “FYI. Heavyweight source.” Comey replied to McCabe, copying Chief of Staff James Rybicki, saying, “This still reads to me like someone not involved in the investigation at all, maybe somebody who heard rumors …”
“Jill McCabe received money from a PAC headed by McAuliffe, who was under investigation by the FBI for campaign finance law violations”
Just pointing that out.
HE HAD CONFLICTS OF INTEREST THAT WORRIED THE FBI, FAILED TO RECUSE HIMSELF, AND USED FBI RESOURCES TO AID HIS WIFE’S POLITICAL CAMPAIGN.
3: Aside from his behavior, and aside from the FBI recommendation, his lying ALSO warranted firing all by itself.
Lying to investigators seems to trip up everyone in D.C. Nevertheless, it should always be punished. And it is clear from Attorney General Sessions, and others, that lying under oath to those conducting the investigation was a big part of why they recommended his firing.
From Fox News:
Reportedly, McCabe lied to the inspector general, or in euphemistic and delicately modern parlance, he “had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.”
Although it need not be said, Attorney General Sessions wryly noted: “The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability.” The Office of Professional Responsibility noted: “All FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that integrity is our brand.”
You can’t try to cover up what you’ve done. You just can’t. “Lack of candor under oath” is a diplomatic government-esque way of saying that he was obfuscating and misleading investigators.
You cannot let that go. Not and maintain any credibility. As John Bolton said, “It would have been stunning if Jeff Sessions had done anything else.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 17, 2018
HE LIED TO THE VERY PEOPLE WHO REPORTED ON HIS PROFESSIONAL BEHAVIOR.
4: Aside from his behavior, the FBI’s recommendation, and his lying to the investigators, his unauthorized disclosures alone warranted immediate firing.
Leaks, leaks, leaks. As we mentioned in point one, one of the key reasons the FBI made the recommendation for firing McCabe rather than letting him retire was that he was coordinating to leak information to the press. To repeat:
The inspector general at the Justice Department reported McCabe’s alleged misconduct to the FBI. The agency then conducted an investigation which “concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions,” Sessions wrote in a statement.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz discovered that McCabe authorized two FBI officials to talk to then-Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett regarding the investigation of the Clinton Foundation, according to the Washington Post.
One of these two officials was almost certainly Lisa Page, a senior FBI attorney, according to text messages between Page and top FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok released in January this year by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).
The report, which has yet to be made public, is said to have concluded Mr. McCabe mislead investigators about his role in allowing FBI officials to speak to reporters at The Wall Street Journal about a corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to published reports on Wednesday.
Although the Justice Department did not confirm if McCabe was fired for The Wall Street Journal interview, it did say he made “an unauthorized disclosure to the news media.”
In an intelligence and law enforcement field, in an agency like the FBI, one the greatest threats to both the efficacy and integrity of an investigation is leaking. Washington has been leaking like a sieve since Trump won the election as appointees and employees with their own agendas have tried to either hurt or help Trump. Mostly hurt. In a situation this blatant, with an internal report documenting the unauthorized disclosures and volumes of evidence on them in the press, it would be absolutely absurd for Sessions to ignore it and allow him to go unpunished.
Which leads us to
5: Punishable offenses should be punished, regardless of how close one is to retirement or how upset people are about the President. To do less is to burden the justice system with precedent and the taxpayers with a bill.
What the people objecting and whining are saying, in the end, is that they don’t care if he did anything wrong, or what it might have been, or to what extent it mattered or altered events, or how much it wasted government time and money, or how many of his own colleagues and coworkers were hurt, or how officially or urgently his firing was requested by those who employ him, they think he should go entirely unpunished.
Because those were the options. Fire him, or let him off free and clear. Doing so would send a whole lot of bad messages. It would say that Trump’s administration was more concerned with whether McCabe would seek vengeance (guess what, he is) than they were about doing what the FBI believed was the right thing to do.
Think about that please. The MSM and Democrats are saying that they think Trump should have ignored the FBI’s will and, to protect Trump’s own interest and avoid retribution from McCabe, have let him retire on the taxpayer’s dime, unblemished. Does that make sense?
Logically, wouldn’t you think the left and the media would frown on Trump protecting his own behind by mollifying a potential foe, buying him off with pension money and government lucre?
The fifth and final reason it makes perfect sense that McCabe was fired is that it would have been a display of rancorous executive overreach to try to make McCabe happy by paying him off. It would have been obscene. The situation and the FBI demanded a firing. And that is what happened.
ANY ACTION LESS THAN FIRING WOULD HAVE ITSELF BEEN SCANDALOUS.
There you go. Five reasons why this was the right thing to do, and made perfect sense.
UPDATE: In case you are among those who comment at The Right Scoop, for whom apparently a summary assuming one is familiar with this story turns out to be insufficient, here is some required reading from things people who have been following the story already know. In no particular order.
– Wall Street Journal on McCabe’s most glaring conflict of interest, published Oct. 24, 2016. NOTE THE DATE.
Since this one is behind a paywall, an excerpt:
The political organization of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an influential Democrat with longstanding ties to Bill and Hillary Clinton, gave nearly $500,000 to the election campaign of the wife of an official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation who later helped oversee the investigation into Mrs. Clinton’s email use.
Campaign finance records show Mr. McAuliffe’s political-action committee donated $467,500 to the 2015 state Senate campaign of Dr. Jill McCabe, who is married to Andrew McCabe, now the deputy director of the FBI.
The Virginia Democratic Party, over which Mr. McAuliffe exerts considerable control, donated an additional $207,788 worth of support to Dr. McCabe’s campaign in the form of mailers, according to the records. That adds up to slightly more than $675,000 to her candidacy from entities either directly under Mr. McAuliffe’s control or strongly influenced by him. The figure represents more than a third of all the campaign funds Dr. McCabe raised in the effort.
– CNN report on Terry McAuliffe being under investigation by the FBI.
(if you need the dots connected, McAuliffe gave a boatload of money to the wife of an FBI official who then failed to recuse himself from an investigation. McAuliffe is a long-time Clinton insider, and handles their shadier influxes of cash. Then, the husband of someone to whom McAuliffe was later a sugar daddy is part of an investigation into Hillary Clinton that just happened to let her off free and clear.
By the way, here is Eric Holder, not a Trumpie if you don’t know, on the character of IG Horowitz, who recommended the firing.
“Whether you agree with all his conclusions or not, Horowitz has a history of acting in good faith. He’s generally considered to be a straight-shooting guy, though he likes to mind his congressional politics.”
It is also worth noting that it would be illegal for Sessions to fire McCabe without evidence of wrongdoing on his part. His early retirement was announced, according to multiple sources (including the current FBI Director) as a result of how poorly the investigation was reflecting on him.
As the Dan Abrams (again, not a Trumpist) publication Law & Crime noted today:
While it’s not difficult to imagine President Trump publicly declaring someone an enemy and working diligently to destroy that person, it seems a bit of a stretch to assume that Michael Horowitz and the OIG would cavalierly do the same thing. Let’s keep in mind, too, that the IG’s report was based on facts that very well may reflect badly on McCabe. Specifically, it found that McCabe authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media about a Clinton-related case and then misled investigators.