Is Andrew McCabe off the hook? Don’t count on it. The former FBI deputy director has been one of the central figures in the various anti-Trump coup plots that have unfolded over the last four years. He was well placed to do it, serving as deputy director 2016-2018, and briefly as acting director in 2017. He had means, motive and opportunity to abuse his power to the hilt.
McCabe’s downfall was rapid. He stepped down from the deputy directorship in January 2018, ahead of findings from the DOJ Office of the Inspector General that he “lacked candor,” a.k.a lied, to investigators, on several occasions, even under oath. He was fired in March 2018, just days before he would have been eligible to retire with full pension, and in April it was revealed that the IG had made a criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. The IG report that was made public that month detailed how McCabe systematically transmitted sensitive information to the media while lying to investigators and his boss about the matter and publicly condemning the leaks. is a useful case study in the type of duplicity that thrives in Washington’s government/media complex.
In the last few days, the Justice Department announced that McCabe would not face trial for these particular crimes. McCabe, of course, declared vindication. He told his media employer CNN that being branded a liar was “one of the most sickening and demeaning experiences of [his] life” and that it was “just an absolute disgrace that they let this thing drag on as long as they did and put my family through what we’ve gone through over the last two years.” He said he was “just disgusted at the way the whole thing has been handled.”
McCabe isn’t the only one who is disgusted. The disparity of prosecutorial judgment and treatment infecting Washington, DC, has a corrosive effect on the American publics’ faith in justice. There is no legitimate reason why McCabe should elude justice. The inspector general’s report clearly established the basis for a criminal indictment. The fact that he was not arrested comes across as yet another example of a sickening double standard.
As for his objections to the process dragging on, McCabe should have a little more self-awareness. He was hardly subjected to the full force of harassment, intimidation, leaking and other tools at the disposal of the government when waging war on a political target, which frequently lead to bankruptcy, extreme stress and other consequences. He should know, since that has been the type of treatment meted out to people like Roger Stone, General Michael Flynn and others with far less evidence of wrongdoing.
McCabe says that he expects more mistreatment from the “vindictive” Trump, echoing the post-acquittal media lie that the president will go on a vengeance tour against his political enemies. Here’s what McCabe is really afraid of: accountability.
The Justice Department, in the person of U.S. Attorney John Durham, is investigating the abuses of power that took place over the last four years and aims to reveal to Americans how a group of senior government officials sought to rig the 2016 election and, failing that, to depose an elected president.
McCabe and others rightly should be worried about the Justice Department’s newly announced review of alleged prosecutorial misconduct in the Flynn case, led by U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri Jeffrey Jensen. Perhaps we will learn more about the circumstances of Flynn’s original guilty plea, which was reportedly extorted from him through FBI threats to go after Flynn’s son on unspecified charges? Or we might find out more about allegations that McCabe altered FBI interview records (302s) from Flynn’s meeting with agents where he supposedly lied. Maybe we will learn more about the exculpatory Brady materials requested by Flynn’s defense attorney Sidney Powell that could include evidence that McCabe had told a group of other like-minded officials, “First we f-ck Flynn, then we f-ck Trump.”
Former Mueller investigator Andrew Weissmann believes that this review is just a way to open a more general investigation of McCabe, former FBI Director James Comey and Special Agent Peter Strzok, rather than relying on the “loser case” of McCabe’s perjury. Bravo if so.
The wider investigation by Durham into potential misconduct by officials in the FBI, Justice Department and other government agencies is also ongoing, and hopefully McCabe is being looked at, along with Comey, Strzok, former CIA Director John Brennan and a host of others. The fact that critics are now calling for Attorney General William Barr to resign only shows fear that the investigations will uncover the truth about what President Trump rightly calls the greatest political scandal in our nation’s history.
McCabe vindicated? No. It’s now all about accountability.
Chris Farrell is director of investigations and research for Judicial Watch, a nonprofit government watchdog. Chris is a former military intelligence officer who specialized in human intelligence.