7 Big Takeaways From Andrew McCabe’s Planned Coup

7 Big Takeaways From Andrew McCabe’s Planned Coup

McCabe's actions prove that the Russia probe was always tainted and that many in the FBI and DOJ aren’t public servants, but rather incompetent attention-seekers.
Willis L. Krumholz
By

If Washington, D.C. were a better place, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe would be swiftly run out of town. He was fired last year for lying to the FBI’s inspector general at least four times regarding serious questions about multiple abuses that occurred while McCabe sat in a powerful and unelected office.

These abuses included working with former FBI director James Comey to set up former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for obstruction charges, slow-walking and sabotaging the investigation of yet unseen Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer just before the 2016 election, and failing to report a clear conflict of interest where his wife received a political donation from a close Hillary Clinton ally while he was tasked with investigating Hillary Clinton.

Among other things, McCabe also took part in spying on the Trump campaign through a secret warrant granted by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) court. This spying allowed obedient anti-Trump media figures to report, right before the 2016 election, that the FBI was investigating President Trump—which legitimized the Hillary Clinton campaign’s talking points about Trump and Russia.

Thankfully, although the establishment media cheers McCabe, he may yet face legal trouble as a result of his actions. So to save his skin, and sell his new book to help pay the lawyers—titled “The Threat: How the F.B.I. Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump”—McCabe is on the media circuit.

As such, McCabe sat down for an interview with “60 Minutes,” set to air this Sunday, and the reporting on that interview has provided (for real this time) an absolute bombshell. According to The New York Times, the former deputy FBI director said he was “so alarmed” by Trump’s firing of Comey in May 2017, that he and his fellow FBI officials immediately “discussed whether to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office.”

What’s more, McCabe’s “dire concerns” about Trump also prompted him to order the FBI to investigate Trump for obstruction of justice over the firing of Comey. And McCabe had the FBI officially begin to directly investigate whether Trump had been working with Russia “against American interests.” Then, McCabe—allegedly being so sure that Trump was a Russia colluder after Comey’s firing—worked to make sure the investigation of Trump would last even if McCabe was also forced out.

McCabe isn’t just spilling the beans about himself. In a separate revelation on a CBS morning show, Scott Pelley, who interviewed McCabe for “60 Minutes,” said McCabe confirmed in his interview that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—at the Department of Justice (DOJ) which often works with the FBI—had suggested wearing a wire in meetings with Trump in order to entrap the president. McCabe also said that Rosenstein and other DOJ officials had participated in discussions about recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment.

The story about Rosenstein proposing to wear a wire was reported by The New York Times in September of last year, although Rosenstein issued a non-descript (and not entirely convincing) denial. Here’s Pelley:

There were meetings at the Justice Department in which it was discussed whether the vice president and a majority of the cabinet could be brought together to remove the president of the United States under the 25th Amendment. These were the eight days from Comey’s firing to the point that Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel. And the highest levels of American law enforcement were trying to figure out what to do with the president.

And:

They were counting noses. They were not asking cabinet members whether they would vote for or against removing the president, but they were speculating, ‘This person would be with us, this person would not be,’ and they were counting noses in that effort. This was not perceived to be a joke.

According to anonymous FBI officials talking to The Times, McCabe and his associates even kept “contemporaneous memos” on their actions and meetings with Trump—again another effort to find the president guilty of some crime. According to one of these memos, Rosenstein and McCabe determined they needed to peel off eight of the 15 cabinet officials. And Rosenstein suggested that he might have supporters “in the attorney general and the secretary of homeland security.”

Yikes. Here we have a formerly powerful and unelected government official, for all the world to see, admitting that the FBI tried to launch a coup against the constitutionally elected president of the United States, in only the first few months of his tenure. But there’s more going on than that. Here are seven quick takeaways on McCabe’s revelation of his planned coup.

1. McCabe Proves Trump Firing Comey Was Justified

McCabe is trying to construct a defense for his absolutely improper and likely illegal actions by front-running the story. He hopes that political sympathy will taint any legal case against him.

His big excuse is that all this—launching an investigation of the president, trying to entrap him, and trying to boot him out of office—is justified because of the firing of Comey. But Trump’s firing of Comey was justified by Trump’s constitutional powers. Period. Trump was elected, Comey was not.

Comey’s firing was also justified by a laundry list of things he did both before and after the 2016 election. For one, the former FBI director told the president that he wasn’t being investigated, but hinted to Congress that the president was indeed being investigated. That’s one of the more innocent things Comey did.

Even more problematic, Comey seemed to threaten Trump with the most salacious details of an unverified and still-disproven “dossier.” Then Comey used a meeting about the dossier with Trump, which Comey had requested, as the means to allow the media to report on that dossier. Next, there’s Comey and McCabe seeming to set up Priebus, and Comey’s behavior during the Clinton email investigation and just before the 2016 election (which was an effort to cover up for himself, not harm Hillary Clinton’s chances).

In other words, McCabe not only fails to justify his actions, he just shot himself in the foot. Before Comey’s firing, McCabe and Comey had already behaved badly. After Comey’s firing, McCabe was still surrounded by bad actors. All are now in serious trouble. This includes Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and FBI lawyer James Baker. These advisors to McCabe have either been fired for cause, demoted, pushed out, or are under investigation. McCabe’s interview only further proves that the upper echelon in both the FBI and DOJ were incredibly partisan, were plotting against Trump before he even took office, and needed to go.

2. McCabe and His Co-conspirators Only Ever Had The Dossier to Go On

McCabe’s interview confirms that he started a Russia-related obstruction investigation after Comey was fired. But what was the investigation of Trump-Russia collusion based on?

Long after the events of early 2017, once it was crystal clear that former Trump campaign official Carter Page was innocent, former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos was named by McCabe and company, through leaks to the Times, as the pretext that launched the “Russia investigation.” But that never passed the smell test.

For just one example, the FBI got a warrant to spy on Page, not Papadopoulos. And in early 2017, when McCabe admits he started officially investigating Trump, the FBI was still spying on Page and largely ignoring Papadopoulos. Much later, Special Counsel Robert Mueller would go after Papadopoulos, who was sentenced for a thin charge of lying to investigators, and absolutely no collusion was found. But Papadopoulos was barely on the radar in early 2017.

Of course, the FBI was already unofficially investigating Trump and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. That’s why they were spying on Carter Page, which likely allowed them to spy on the entire Trump campaign. During this time, they had already checked Papadopoulos out, possibly using a Maltese professor with ties to western intelligence agencies. But this was meant to use Papadopoulos to legitimize their investigation. The suspicion of Trump-Russia collusion, and the investigation into the Trump campaign, already existed.

That’s because the so-called Steele dossier was always the impetus for the Russia investigation. But calling this a “dossier” is too generous. This is a Word document that was funded by Hillary Clinton’s campaign, written using paid, shady, and unknown Russians. This Word document was used to spy on the opposing party’s presidential campaign, despite the fact that nothing in the document that wasn’t public information checked out. McCabe and company wanted to believe the dossier. But that’s all they ever had.

3. Much Of This Seems Like A Cover-up

The fact that a shoddy, misspelled, Russian-sourced document paid for by Hillary Clinton tricked America’s “top intelligence officials” is embarrassing. It shows the utter stupidity of many of our so-called elites. But it also opens up the FBI and DOJ to serious reforms, or even opens up these top FBI and DOJ officials, who signed off on spying on the Trump campaign, to potential criminal prosecution. Even McCabe’s action of ensuring the investigation would go on if he was fired should be seen in this light.

That explains much of what has gone on since November 2016. Since the election, these partisans have implemented a sophisticated media leak campaign to generate hysteria, and now that seems to be collapsing. Doesn’t the media always remind us that the cover-up is usually what gets you, not the original crime? As a side note, what happens to the left-of-center media’s ratings and subscriptions if (or when) all this Russia stuff goes away?

4. The Conspirators Might Be Turning On Each Other

It is probably safe to say that Rosenstein is not a big fan of McCabe right now. McCabe’s motivation is simple, aside from trying to juice the sales of his book. He’s in serious legal trouble. He was fired for lying, he has big legal bills, and he may face prison time for his coup attempt. Essentially McCabe is saying, “If I take the fall, I’m going to take everyone else down with me.”

So we might be seeing a bit of a dustup between the FBI and the DOJ, going after each other in the press. Generally, the FBI leaks to The New York Times, and the DOJ leaks to The Washington Post. Don’t be surprised if the DOJ, or Rosenstein in particular, hits back soon in the Post.

5. McCabe Might Be Telling The Truth About Rosenstein

After McCabe again alleged Rosenstein had also plotted against the president, Rosenstein issued another one of his non-denial denials. When the story about Rosenstein suggesting he wear a wire to trap Trump first broke months ago, in an anonymous leak to the Times, many thought Rosenstein was telling the truth when he said his comments were “sarcastic.”

But with the on-the-record claim, and Rosenstein’s refusal to testify in Congress about it, people should become more open to the idea that Rosenstein seriously proposed a wire and the 25th Amendment—as insane as that actually is.

There’s more to this than McCabe going on the record. It wasn’t a good look when Rosenstein refused to testify under oath to House Republicans, when they controlled that chamber, as to whether or not he really did seek to record Trump and invoke the 25th Amendment. House Republicans have also, for a long time, had questions about Rosenstein’s role in signing off on a fourth and final warrant to spy on Page, where the FISA warrant contained serious omissions and misstatements.

Saying he was too busy to testify, Rosenstein ran out the clock on Republicans, who lost the House after the midterm elections. In the next few months, Rosenstein plans on resigning once William Barr is confirmed as the new attorney general. But in his last days at DOJ, he has had plenty of time to secretly meet with reporters and provide his anonymous narrative.

6. The Whole Russia Probe Is Tainted And Corrupt

If there wasn’t enough evidence already, McCabe’s interview provides even more evidence that the Russia probe was tainted from the get-go. Rosenstein signed off on firing Comey. He signed the last secret warrant to spy on a former member of the Trump campaign, Page, who has yet to be charged with doing literally anything wrong.  And Rosenstein launched the Russia probe and appointed and oversaw special counsel Mueller after former attorney general Jeff Sessions recused himself.

More fundamentally, for the longest time, top FBI and DOJ officials have been able to hide behind the veneer of objectivity. They claimed to not be investigating Trump, but to only be focusing on Russian interference, wherever that may lead.

Yet the entire fiasco, the entirety of the time, has always been about Trump. There is no real effort to check out the Democratic National Committee (DNC) servers likely hacked by Russia (or somebody). There is no objective effort to make sure Russia doesn’t weaken Americans’ confidence in our elections in the future. Instead, everything—even in the first few months of Trump’s presidency—has been done through the lens of trying to boot Trump out of office.

For McCabe and company, getting rid of Trump would surely eliminate someone they detest, and whose policies are not popular in the Beltway. But it would also justify their lunatic and improper actions during the 2016 election.

7. Comey, McCabe, Clapper, And Brennan Are Unpatriotic Dopes

It used to be that intelligence leaders left their jobs quietly and lived quiet lives. There was an occasional op-ed here and there, and some board service. That changed with the people Barack Obama put in place. The new model employed by Comey, McCabe, former director of national intelligence Jim Clapper, and former CIA director John Brennan swims in cable news gigs, book tours, and hysterical tweets.

Again, this completely undermines their claims that while they were in charge of the all-powerful U.S. intelligence community, they acted as non-partisan straight shooters. They were lightyears away from being straight shooters. And their opposition to Trump was beyond ideological. It was emotional, mostly driven by rage.

None of these men have been elected, and it is doubtful that any of them could ever be elected. Yet through a corrupt media, they have been thrust to the center stage of American discourse. These aren’t public servants, they are incompetent attention-seekers. They are selfish, and unpatriotic, concerned with protecting themselves from their own misdeeds instead of the good of the country.

Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.

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