A couple of days ago, my commentary focused on former (fired) deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and what the leaking which led to his criminal investigation was really about: not Trump at all, but, surprisingly, Hillary. In bending over backwards to resuscitate his own image of “impartiality” (ha) after it was reported that his wife had received a huge Clinton-connected campaign donation, he ordered Lisa Page to leak that the Justice Department was telling the FBI to back off its investigation of the Clinton Foundation and that he was standing firm!
Anyway, leaking is leaking, or at least it’s supposed to be. But in the real world of Washington, DC, which is overwhelmingly Democrat, the question of whether McCabe was leaking something damaging on Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton probably makes a big difference. I find it interesting that so far, the only person involved in the “Trump/Russia” scandal who faces criminal indictment is in trouble for doing something damaging to HILLARY, not Trump.
The case seems clear-cut. McCabe leaked and repeatedly lied about it. However, THE NEW YORK TIMES has just run a story saying that lawyers for McCabe sent a letter to prosecutors asking whether a secret grand jury had refused to indict him, “which,” the NYT said in its first paragraph, “would be a sign that the government is struggling to make a case against him.” Apparently a grand jury that was called on Thursday after a months-long break left for the day without any sign that they had returned an indictment. The same thing happened on Friday. “It is clear that no indictment was returned,” the lawyers wrote in their letter, which was surely intended as much for the public as it was for the prosecutors, to make the case look shaky.
Sure enough, the NYT played along…
Of course, with the NYT being such a propaganda rag for the Democrats –- if you doubt me, look at what they just wrote about Justice Brett Kavanaugh –- you know they’d normally want McCabe to pay for making Hillary Clinton and Obama’s DOJ look suspect. But in this case, they must surely be torn, as McCabe and Trump have an intensely adversarial relationship (for good reason, given McCabe’s push to tie Trump with Russia), and, ultimately, the enemy of their enemy is most likely going to be their friend. That seems to have been the most important consideration here, as they apparently count McCabe as a friend and have obviously done the bidding of McCabe’s attorneys.
Andrew C. McCarthy has just written about this, and –- speaking of Justice Kavanaugh –- he points out that McCabe’s lead attorney, Michael Bromwich, was last seen representing none other than Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser during his nightmarish confirmation hearings. Bromwich’s letter to prosecutors said he’d been hearing “rumors from reporters” about the filing of a “no true bill,” which occurs when a grand jury votes not to indict.
It’s through tactics such as this that lawyers get their stories out, just as Trump’s adversaries got the “dossier” story out. I’ll let McCarthy describe how it worked in this case: “While conceding that ‘he do[es] not know the specific basis for the rumors,’ Bromwich intuits that they must be reliable because the newspapers ran with the story. Mind you, neither the TIMES nor the POST claims to have been told by any grand jurors that they declined to indict McCabe, nor do they report hearing from any knowledgeable government official that a no true bill was voted. Nevertheless, McCabe’s legal team is demanding that the Justice Department disclose whether an indictment was declined and refrain from seeking an indictment in the future.”
See, this is how they forward their made-up narrative that the case against McCabe is crumbling. First, we have the media reports and “rumors” by willing accomplices, then the letter from Bromwich to prosecutors, then further media reports sparked by the letter, and around and around. This is what is meant by “circular reporting.” Just like the “dossier” story about Trump and Russia that McCabe and his colleagues were pushing, it’s actually built on nothing.
McCarthy goes on to say that there’s no reason to believe the grand jury has voted against indicting McCabe. Once his appeal had been rejected by U.S. Attorney Jesse Liu, indictment had seemed pretty much a foregone conclusion, so when it didn’t happen immediately after the grand jury reconvened last Thursday, McCabe’s lawyers jumped on this and sent the letter. But McCarthy says there’s no reason to assume McCabe’s indictment was even sought that day, let alone that the grand jury had said no.
McCarthy says a “no true bill” from a grand jury is so rare that no competent prosecutor should ever get one. In his nearly 20 years as a prosecutor, it never happened to him. In cases the jury has problems with, there’s usually a dialogue in which the prosecutors address the jurors’ concerns. And it’s not a trial, in that they only need to find that there’s enough evidence for a trial, and the vote doesn’t have to be unanimous, just a majority of 12 out of 23. McCarthy finds it hard to believe that a jury would find insufficient probable cause to indict.
There are a lot of other variables. For example, we don’t know if McCabe’s false statements are the only matters the grand jury is examining. They might even be looking at related behavior by other suspects. Also, given that the release of the IG report is imminent and that U.S. Attorney John Durham is still investigating the origins of the FBI’s “Russia” probe, the Justice Department may have asked the court to seal any indictments made by the grand jury, so as not to prejudice –- or even appear to prejudice –- any of the cases going on. In other words, it’s possible that McCabe might already BE under indictment, but that it is under seal.
All in all, McCarthy says he can think of a dozen or more possible explanations for why an indictment of McCabe hasn’t been announced yet. Some of them are quite mundane.
It’s impossible to predict how this case will go –- and remember, this one has nothing to do with Trump or Russia –- but the idea of “no true bill” seems highly unlikely. You wouldn’t know that from reading THE NEW YORK TIMES, though. So unless you thrive on DNC talking points, contrived narrative and leftist spin, or you need something to line the bottom of your parrot cage, there’s no reason to waste your time with it.