It’s interesting that someone who was fired from the FBI for lying-by-omission to investigators is now so forthcoming about the same overall issue; namely, the actions taken by him and his friends to get rid of Donald Trump, as a candidate and later as President. Former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe is now singing like a canary about what he and his colleagues were doing behind the scenes to accomplish just that. Oh, but he’s not apologizing for overstepping his bounds and working to achieve Trump’s ouster in what might be –- and which has been, by me –- described as a “bloodless coup.” Just the opposite: he sounds just as self-aggrandizing as former FBI Director James Comey. They were all working to save America from someone who might have been in league with Russia or who was otherwise “unfit” for the Presidency.
McCabe’s sudden verboseness has mostly to do with the release of his book, called (are you ready for this?) “THE THREAT: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.” Good grief, where to start? Someday, after all this shakes out, Trump is going to have to write a book called “THE REAL THREAT: How My Republican Colleagues and I Protected America from the FBI.” What is it about these top bureaucrats? We’ve known since July of 2016 that James Comey thought of himself as not just an FBI official but also as prosecutor, judge, and jury, and now we see his friends had the same inflated sense of self-importance.
A short clip from an interview McCabe did for 60 MINUTES airing this Sunday shows him admitting to ordering an obstruction of justice investigation into President Trump shortly after Comey was fired. We now get the story salted-and-peppered with McCabe’s dead-serious rationalizations.
Never mind that there was no actual evidence of any conspiracy between Trump and Russia. The firing of James Comey kicked the DOJ/FBI into high gear, including the most astonishing part of their schemings –- discussing secretly recording the President and the idea of conspiring with Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and declare the President unfit for office and remove him. They considered this even though they knew that firing Comey was well within the President’s authority. Saying to Comey, “I hope you’ll be able to go easy on Mike Flynn –- he’s a good guy,” or words to that effect, is not obstruction. And after two exhaustive years, no link between Russia and Trump has been found.
Nevertheless, McCabe was concerned that he himself might be fired in an attempt to obstruct justice. (He was fired, all right, but not by Trump and not to obstruct justice; as we’ve known for a long time, he was fired for lying to investigators, keeping from them information about his knowledge of leaks from his department.) “I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground, in an indelible fashion,” he told CBS’s Scott Pelley. “That were I removed quickly, or reassigned or fired, that the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace.”
Yes, McCabe was fired, justifiably so, but his fears about the Russia case being “vanished” by Trump were completely unfounded. The investigation goes on, unhampered. This is because Trump IS NOT obstructing justice.
In the clip of McCabe’s interview that was shown Thursday on CBS THIS MORNING, Scott Pelley says McCabe told him that deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who was acting in Jeff Sessions' stead, as Sessions had recused himself from all things related to Russia and the campaign) actually did tell officials that he wanted to secretly record Trump and recruit Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment. “McCabe in the...interview says...it came up more than once and it was so serious that he took it to the lawyers at the FBI to discuss it,” Pelley reports.
It sounds as though this might very well have been the meeting referenced by Lisa Page in her text about “the insurance policy” talk in “Andy’s office.”
Rosenstein has denied the report. He also previously has said he was just joking. At this point, it sure doesn’t appear that he was joking --- just that this crew heading up the DOJ/FBI was in itself a joke.
A Justice Department spokesperson said, “As to the specific portions of this interview provided to the Department of Justice provided by 60 MINUTES in advance, the deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect. The deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references. As the deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.”
Let’s parse this statement. (Ah, the word “parse” takes me back to the Clinton days.) Keep in mind that if Rosenstein disagrees with even one word of McCabe’s story, he can reject the whole “recitation of events.” He’s also confining the denial to “specific portions of this interview,” not any other part of the interview, what Pelley says, or what might be in the book. Also, no one has accused Rosenstein of actually “authorizing” the recording --- they were just talking about it at the DOJ and in “Andy’s office” at the FBI. This statement does not deny the discussion of it. “Based on his personal dealings with the President”? What about Comey’s dealings with the President, or anyone else’s, or the President’s late-night tweets that might be conveniently interpreted by his enemies as paranoid? None of that is addressed.
Also, with the phrase “there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment,” we have to consider what the meaning of “is” is. (Sound familiar?) Maybe at the time, he thought there WAS. So this statement from the DOJ really doesn’t deny much at all.
The spokesperson also said McCabe didn’t speak to Comey about appointing a special counsel. Well, he wouldn’t have had to. It seems obvious that the desire to take this step would have gone without saying.
In the book, McCabe says Rosenstein claimed to have been ordered by Trump to write the memo authorizing Comey’s firing, and that he had subsequently “spiraled into rage and paranoia.” He describes Rosenstein as “glassy-eyed” and sleep deprived at that time. It seems to me that writing a memo outlining the reasons to fire Comey would have been very easy and actually kind of fun, and that one could do it and sleep quite soundly at night.
Tucker Carlson’s stunning interview on this subject with Jon Summers, former communications director for Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada (I know), shows just how scary the brain’s capacity for rationalization can be. Though Summers didn’t defend any specific participant in these “very serious conversations,” he did see the conversations as based on a constitutional safeguard against having “a President who is incapable of doing the job.”
Tucker said that’s not the same as having someone in office who’s doing things you don’t like. The amendment was created in response to JFK's assassination, to deal with crises such as a President suffering brain damage or Woodrow Wilson’s incapacitation by stroke and his wife stepping in to make official decisions for him. (Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz later agreed with Tucker on this, saying the 25th Amendment is for physical or psychiatric incapacitation, not for impeachable offenses. “Any Justice Department official who even mentioned the 25th Amendment in the context of President Trump has committed a grievous offense against the Constitution,” he said. He referred to any attempt to use this as “a despicable act of unconstitutional power-grabbing.")
But Summers said, “I don’t have a problem that they have these discussions. At the end of the day, they landed at ‘no.’” (NOTE: It’s worth watching the interview just to see Tucker’s face when he says that.) “And I think that’s the important thing to remember. So the system worked the way it was supposed to.” Summers said he didn’t think “it was the case at all” that they were doing it because they didn’t like the President’s policies –- he believes “there was a genuine concern about how Russia was involved in the 2016 election.”
Sorry, can’t buy it. These people knew from the start that the “Russia collusion” narrative was created by the FBI, with their fraudulent use of unverified oppo research paid for by Hillary’s campaign. Their intervention wasn’t motivated by “genuine concern” –- unless they’d become so unhinged by their Trump-hate that they started believing their own story. And Mr. Summers should know better than to believe it. If Hillary had become President and this kind of “bloodless coup” had been attempted, we might safely assume he’d have a BIG problem with it, even with her flagrant lawbreaking and obvious Russia ties. And everyone involved would already be under the jail, while Hillary skated.