Cue Scott Pelley: “Former acting [FBI] Director Andrew McCabe is about to describe behind-the-scenes chaos in 2017 after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. In the days that followed, McCabe says that law enforcement officials discussed whether to secretly record a conversation with the President and whether Mr. Trump could be removed from office through invoking the 25th Amendment.”
Well, there it is, right on 60 MINUTES: evidence of the “bloodless coup” that has seemed apparent for about two years to those paying attention. McCabe is being investigated for lying to his own FBI colleagues who were conducting a probe into media leaks, and he may be shading the truth about this as well, but we get a pretty good idea of what was going on at the FBI. These were people overstepping their bounds for the purpose of taking down the President of the United States.
Oh, but Pelley still made it about Trump, implying that Trump’s behavior sparked this madness and asking McCabe, with deadly seriousness, “Are you saying that the President is in league with the Russians?” McCabe is a lifelong Republican, Pelley noted, who had “a sterling 21-year career at the FBI, serving as head of counterterrorism and number two under Comey.” The implication: how could someone as reputable as this be caught up in misdeeds at the FBI unless he was driven to it by this President?
On camera, McCabe said people at the FBI were disheartened by Comey’s firing because he was so well respected. (Hard to see why, as Hillary would certainly have fired him herself if she had won, probably as her first act in office.) McCabe described a meeting he’d had with Trump in the Oval Office shortly after Comey’s firing, which under the circumstances we will have to take with many, many grains of salt. I won’t recount those details here, but you can see the entire 60 MINUTES segment here if you missed it:
It was ridiculous for McCabe to cast suspicion on Trump for perhaps getting elected “with the aid of the government of Russia, our most formidable adversary on the world stage.” It certainly fit 60 MINUTES’ preferred narrative, but that group at the FBI had learned from Bruce Ohr that the Steele “dossier” was unverified political campaign dirt and that there was (to use Peter Strzok’s words) “no there there.” But McCabe still earnestly insisted, “If we failed to open an investigation...we wouldn’t be doing our job.”
McCabe also repeated the story that Trump had asked Comey to drop the investigation into former National Security Advisor Gen. Michael Flynn. Again, according to Comey’s own words, that’s not what happened. In his notes (the ones he leaked), Comey had paraphrased Trump to say something like, “I hope you can see your way clear to going easy on Flynn --- he’s a good guy.” That is NOT obstruction. Obstruction would have been something like, “Flynn’s a good guy --- I’m telling you as President to drop it and leave him alone.”
Here’s a quick refresher on McCabe, outlined by Jason Chaffetz Sunday night on THE NEXT REVOLUTION with Steve Hilton: A year ago, the Inspector General put out a 39-page report “essentially highlighting, detailing, four times that he lied to federal authorities, three times while under oath.” Chaffetz doesn’t believe “a word this guy says.” He also asserts that by relating details of a secondhand conversation –- the President’s briefing on North Korea –- McCabe knowingly shared classified information “and should be prosecuted for this.”
During his interview, McCabe called the special counsel investigation “one of the most important efforts underway right now.” Chris Buskirk, publisher of AMERICAN GREATNESS (great website), wasn’t surprised that he said that, in that McCabe is one of the cadre of people at the FBI and DOJ who staked their careers on removing this President from office in any way they could, even “using the secret police.” He believes that the FBI investigation into Trump was a cover-up for what they were doing during the campaign to help Hillary with the Fusion GPS “dossier.” They were, according to Buskirk (and, well, me) “the henchmen for the Clinton campaign.”
And, yes, we’re still seeing the two-tier justice system. As Chaffetz reminds us, the Inspector General, in a 39-page report “with lots of evidence,” reported that McCabe lied repeatedly, including under oath, but McCabe has yet to be indicted a year later, even though George Papadopoulos, Michael Cohen, Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort from the Trump side have been prosecuted for the same crime. McCabe has plenty of company among liars on his side of the aisle –- most notably James Comey, John Brennan and Hillary Clinton –-and those people have so far evaded indictment.
For what it’s worth, McCabe offered more details about the Rosenstein-offering-to-wear-a-wire story. “He [Rosenstein] said, ‘I never get searched when I go into the White House, I can easily wear a recording device, they wouldn’t know it was there,” McCabe told Pelley. “Now, he was not joking, he was absolutely serious, and, in fact, he brought it up in the next meeting we had.” McCabe said he never really considered taking him up on it, though he did discuss it with his general counsel and his “leadership team back at the FBI.” (Again, this sounds as though it might have been the meeting Lisa Page texted about, in “Andy’s office. Or maybe that was a different meeting about saving America from Trump; who knows?) He did say his general counsel had told him that doing this was “a bridge too far; we’re not there yet.”
“WE’RE NOT THERE YET"??
As I listened to this interview, one big question for me was, “How does Rosenstein still have his job? He certainly seemed obsessed with getting the President out of HIS job, by recording him and also by trying to get enough Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment. (We’ve also just learned that former top FBI attorney James Baker testified last fall he was told that Rosenstein said two Cabinet members would actually support removing Trump.) Maybe Bill Barr, the incoming AG, will finally can Rosenstein. That’s what I call “a good start”; there’s much more to do to restore confidence in the FBI. Barr has quite a job ahead of him to “raise the bar.”
Oh, by the way, 60 MINUTES also gave McCabe and his wife, former candidate for Virginia state senator Jill McCabe, an opportunity to address campaign contributions totaling more than $675,000 –- an unheard-of amount for a statewide race –- given to her through Clinton crony and then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe. They found it “disgusting” that President Trump connected the money with McCabe’s later involvement in the investigation into Hillary’s private server. But we never learned from McCabe why his wife received such an astronomical amount of campaign money. (Of course, even with all that money, his wife lost the race.)
“I believe I was fired because I opened a case against the President of the United States,” McCabe stated near the end of the interview. In response to one of Trump’s tweets about his firing, he said, “The idea that this President would know what ‘a great day for the FBI’ or ‘a great day for democracy’ was, is preposterous.” Upon reflection, it seems to me that having that whole crew gone would be a great day for both the FBI and democracy.
60 MINUTES obviously ran this interview for three reasons: 1) ratings, 2) to make Trump look bad, and 3) ratings. People who don’t have much background on what the FBI has been doing the past few years might think it made Trump look bad, but my opinion of McCabe and the other sad clowns who led the FBI is much more in line with that of political analyst Mark Penn, so I’ll let him take it from here. I’d say it’s a must-read, especially if you’ve just watched 60 MINUTES...