Andrew McCabe Can’t Keep His Story Straight

Andrew McCabe Can’t Keep His Story Straight

Andrew McCabe’s motivation is to put blame on Rod Rosenstein, and excuse actions taken at the FBI by making it seem as if they were small-ball compared to Rosenstein’s at the DOJ.
Willis L. Krumholz
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Former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe was fired for lying to the FBI inspector general on multiple occasions, and faces potential legal trouble for his many abuses of power. But he’s still the leftwing media’s new darling, as he’s on a media tour to preempt any prosecution, and promote his new book—which he surely hopes will fund his pending legal troubles.

But poor McCabe can’t keep his story straight. McCabe was let go from the FBI for lying in March of 2018. Then, in September of last year, someone leaked to The New York Times that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had sought to trap the president in a crime or attempt to remove the president, by proposing to wear a wire for his conversations with the president, and by attempting to recruit cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment, respectively.

This was a hit on Rosenstein from someone who wanted to spread the blame away from himself or herself, and from someone in the FBI who sought to excuse his or her actions by pointing fingers at the Department of Justice (DOJ). That’s why many assumed it was McCabe and his people orchestrating this leak.

McCabe Officially Throws Rosenstein Under the Bus

But then McCabe went in front of the cameras for his soft-ball “60 Minutes” interview. McCabe was asked about Rosenstein recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment, and Rosenstein offering to “wire-up.” McCabe proceeded to go into great detail to affirm the September 2018 New York Times story. All this, despite the Rosenstein issues not being included in McCabe’s book.

Here’s what McCabe said to “60 Minutes’” Scott Pelley about Rosenstein offering to wire up:

I can’t describe to you, accurately enough, the pressure and the chaos that Rod and I were trying to operate under at that time…

The Deputy Attorney General offered to wear a wire into the White House. He said, ‘I never get searched when I go into the White House, I could easily wear a recording device, they wouldn’t know it was there.’ Now, he was not joking, he was absolutely serious, and in fact he brought it up in the next meeting we had.

I never actually considered taking him up on the offer, I did discuss it with my general counsel and my leadership team at the FBI after he brought it up the first time…I think the general counsel had a heart attack.

Here’s what McCabe said to Pelley about Rosenstein hoping to recruit cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment:

McCabe: Discussion of the 25th amendment was simply, Rod raised the issue and discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort. I didn’t have much to contribute, to be perfectly honest, in that—conversation. So I listened to what he had to say. But, to be fair, it was an unbelievably stressful time. I can’t even describe for you how many things must have been coursing through the deputy attorney general’s mind at that point. So it was really something that he kinda threw out in a very frenzied chaotic conversation about where we were and what we needed to do next…

I mean, he was discussing other cabinet members and whether or not people would support such an idea, whether or not other cabinet members would, shared, his belief that the president was—was really concerning, was concerning Rod at that time.

Pelley: Rosenstein was actually openly talking about whether there was a majority of the cabinet who would vote to remove the president?

McCabe: That’s correct. Counting votes or possible votes.

We know for a few reasons that McCabe is telling the truth about Rosenstein. For one, there was Rosenstein’s carefully worded statement that didn’t exactly amount to a denial—after the September story, Rosenstein had claimed he was only “joking.” Then there is Rosenstein’s continued refusal to testify under oath, and running out the clock on the House GOP.

But we also know this from former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, who testified under oath that McCabe and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page had both said Rosenstein was talking about the 25th Amendment, and that Rosenstein said he had two cabinet members on board.

This testimony occurred last October but Fox’s Catherine Herridge broke the story of this testimony several days ago. Baker’s testimony, and the testimony of another senior FBI lawyer, is in direct odds with Rosenstein’s denials.

Why McCabe Is Talking about Rosenstein

In other words, it is becoming obvious that McCabe is probably the leak orchestrator against Rosenstein, and has the inside view of an illegal and certainly improper plot on the president of the United States, undertaken by unelected intelligence officials who were all involved in abuses of power that occurred before, during, and after the 2016 election.

McCabe’s motivation is to put blame on Rosenstein, and excuse actions taken at the FBI by making it seem as if they were small-ball compared to Rosenstein’s at the DOJ. But McCabe still oversaw an operation to spy on the Trump campaign before the 2016 election, which was based on a Russian-sourced and Clinton campaign-funded smear that boiled down to a completely unverified Word document—the so-called dossier.

This spying was, at the very least, leaked to the press to say that the FBI was investigating Trump, which served to validate a Hillary Clinton campaign talking point. Millions of votes could have been swung in Hillary’s favor because of this interference.

After Trump’s stunning victory, McCabe, Comey, and the rest of Obama’s intelligence chiefs knew they were in deep trouble. They had vastly overreached, assuming that an inevitable Clinton win would cover up their sins.

That’s why McCabe launched an obstruction of justice probe into Trump after Comey’s totally proper firing. Even though the Russia investigation into Trump had unofficially been underway at that point, an investigation into whether Trump was a Russian agent was officially opened based on the excuse of Comey’s firing and legitimate foreign policy differences, lest the truth of the entire thing being based on the so-called dossier became apparent.

McCabe, not Rosenstein, launched those improper and self-serving investigations. So if Rosenstein was looking to entrap the president by wiring up to get him on an obstruction of justice charge, that’s because McCabe improperly launched an obstruction of justice investigation. Instead of McCabe talking about only Rosenstein, as he intended, it sounds an awful lot like McCabe and Rosenstein were working together to cover up the misdeeds of the FBI and DOJ that occurred before the 2016 election, and working together to trap the president with an obstruction of justice charge.

Investigators might be very interested. Keep in mind that these allegations are highly important for what they say about the entire Russia investigation, as Rosenstein has been overseeing it.

McCabe Stepped in It

That’s why, after the “60 Minutes” interview, McCabe’s spokesperson (likely at the direction of McCabe’s legal counsel) put out a statement desperately trying to walk back McCabe’s statements on Rosenstein:

‘Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,’ the spokesperson said. ‘To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.’

That wasn’t the end of McCabe’s backtracking. On “The View,” he was asked why the Rosenstein allegations were not in his book.

McCabe responded: ‘The fact is, and it’s not in my book for exactly this reason, I made the decision not to include these comments in the book because they were exactly that. It never went beyond the realm of a brief offhanded comment by the deputy attorney general to me. I’m not aware of any steps that were taken to execute this, I’m not aware of any meetings that were pulled together to discuss it, there was no further discussion that I’m aware of…’

So McCabe went from a detailed description of the events with Rosenstein—“he was absolutely serious, and in fact he brought it up in the next meeting we had”—to attempting to say it was only an “offhanded comment.” Notably, he also makes sure to say that he, personally, took no actions or steps based on Rosenstein’s “comment.”

Clearly, McCabe’s lawyers had a little talk with him after his “60 Minutes” interview. Again, McCabe’s version on “The View” is different than his version on “60 Minutes.” And it is contradicted by the sworn testimony of FBI general counsel Jim Baker. Among other things, Baker remembers that the wire-up conversation alone lasted “a couple of days or something, yes.”

McCabe’s Media Tour Re-vindicates Donald Trump

Long ago, President Trump claimed his campaign was spied on by the FBI, and that the bureaucracy in Washington was out to manipulate our electoral process. He was exactly right, and has been vindicated over and over by the events of the last two years.

McCabe’s book strangely doesn’t even mention the so-called dossier. But it is entirely clear that the only thing the FBI had to go on was this dossier. The Russia investigation really started because of the dossier, but had to be officially started once Comey was fired.

Now, sensing stormy weather ahead, McCabe is full of excuses. For example, his lawyers seem to be telling him to say the word “stress” in all his interviews. “I can’t describe to you, accurately enough, the pressure and the chaos that Rod and I were trying to operate under at that time,” he said to Pelley. “We were all operating under incredible stress,” McCabe said to the ladies of The View. “Rod Rosenstein… was kind of figuring these things out… [It] was not outrageous that he would make comments off the top of his head that he of course did not follow up on.”

Of course McCabe was stressed. Officials including McCabe, Comey, Clapper, and Brennan were desperate to hide the fact that they had spied on a rival party’s presidential campaign with a totally unverified, Clinton-funded and Russian-sourced Word document. But that’s not a defense for their abuse of power, or the damage they have done to our country. That’s the very reason we should toss these guys in jail, and throw away the key.

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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