If You Are a Fed Official, Perjury Is 'Lacking Candor'
Friday night was a big night for news hawks. And I'm not talking about the upset victory of the UMBC Retrievers over the they-should-have-been-50-points-ahead UVa Cavaliers. Things like that sometimes happen when skill and determination beat odds-makers and reputation.
I'm talking about the firing of Andrew McCabe, who doubtless acted under the impression that rigging things at the FBI for Hillary Clinton was the path to higher office and glory.
Late Friday night, McCabe, the former deputy director and then acting director of the FBI, was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement that reads as follows:
"Lacking candor under oath" is the operative phrase. If it were you or I, the charge by a special prosecutor would be perjury. Ask Lewis Libby or General Mike Flynn.
Of note, the President had nothing to do with this; the recommendation came from within the FBI itself based on its analysis of the report it received from the Justice Department's inspector general, an Obama appointee. Bear this in mind when you read McCabe's response and the twist the major media are putting on the firing.
Note also "Under oath – on multiple occasions." This suggests but does not prove that McCabe was also interrogated by the outside lawyer the attorney general appointed some time ago to look into the handling of the Clinton email matter by the FBI and Department of Justice officials involved. The inspector general also has the power to administer oaths in the course of his investigation.
McCabe was reportedly given a few days' notice of this intended action and was ready to and did quickly release this statement:
Let's deal with the operative phrases here:
1. "I answered questions as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me."
Really, poor soul. Both Libby and Flynn were working on many pressing issues and thought the FBI agents they were talking to were there on other matters, and they were entrapped – even McCabe's underling Peter Strzok said, per James Comey's congressional testimony, that they didn't think Flynn had intentionally lied, and the FBI account by one of the agents who interviewed Libby (Libby lacked the advantage of seeing his contemporaneous notes) was deemed inaccurate by the second agent who'd been there, the first having quickly and inexplicably resigned before the trial.
2. "The OIG investigation focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As deputy director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that, it was not secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter."
The director at the time was James Comey. I suppose neither Comey nor McCabe were aware that the FBI has a well staffed public affairs office, making leaks to reporters seem unnecessary unless one is trying to manipulate news without being known as the source. In any event, the charge is that he lied multiple times about having directed his public affairs officer to leak.
Many other instances of McCabe and his staff's misconduct have been reported and are not included in Sessions's statement, but they seem certain to be revealed when the OIG reports are released.
For example, James Comey in congressional testimony indicated that it was his deputy who persuaded him that they should bypass the legal duty to notify the designated congressional leaders of the ongoing investigation of the "collusion" nonsense. Of course, he, too, could just have been "lacking candor."
And just as Comey tried to pass the blame for not notifying Congress, McCabe seems to have put a bullseye on Comey's back. Comey, after all, denied to Congress that he had authorized any leaks, something McCabe contradicts in his statement.
It was McCabe who directed the work of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, who had sent seemingly countless emails to each other revealing their pro-Hillary bias and anti-Trump animus. Just this week, we learned from newly released emails which had been kept hidden from congressional investigators that Strzok had a close relationship with federal judge Rudolph Contreras, who also sat on the FISC. It's not known yet whether he sat on the panel that okayed the fishing expedition into Trump's affairs. Judge Contreras originally sat on the Flynn case until he was recused. The emails showed the two plotting to set up a social occasion with others and for the judge to hide private conversations with him.
Contreras was appointed to the top surveillance court on May 19, 2016, federal records show.
The pair even schemed about how to set up a cocktail or dinner party just so Contreras, Strzok, and Page could speak without arousing suspicion that they were colluding. Strzok expressed concern that a one-on-one meeting between the two men might require Contreras' recusal from matters in which Strzok was involved.
"[REDACTED] suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting," Strzok told Page. "I'm sorry, I'm just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party."
"Have to come up with some other work people cover for action," Strzok added.
"Why more?" Page responded. "Six is a perfectly fine dinner party."
It is not known whether the proposed party happened as planned.
While working as one of the top counterintelligence officials at the FBI, Strzok reportedly took part in the FBI's interview of on January 24. Flynn later pleaded guilty to one charge of providing false information to federal investigators. Strzok later left the FBI to join Mueller's special counsel team, which obtained the indictment of Flynn.
We don't know the identity of redacted, but McCabe was the deputy director and James Comey the director at that time.
Then, of course, there's the unseemly payment by Clinton allies of almost $700,000 to McCabe's wife (a physician) when she ran for minor office and lost. He had been warned by the relevant department officials that there was a potential conflict, and he didn't head the email investigation until a few months after she lost the race, but he was still a department official with people beholden to him presumably working on the matter and was seen publicly campaigning for her. It has been reported that Virginia election laws permit a candidate to retain surplus donations for personal use as long as the campaign financial account has not been closed.
I'm not sure this is the case, but I'm no expert on campaign laws. Maybe someone with a press badge can seek her campaign records.
Brit Hume on Twitter could not hide his disdain for McCabe's response or the reports by The Hill and the Washington Post twisting the story:
Right, the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility was trying to undermine Mueller. What BS. Amazing that many journalists are buying this claptrap. https://t.co/Gssp9h7nO7— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 17, 2018
Brit Hume added:
No sir. You are being singled out because your department’s own Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that you had lied to internal investigators and recommended you be fired what is a recognized firing offense. https://t.co/DcCWGqvnEv— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 17, 2018
FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommends McCabe be fire. Sessions fires him. McCabe responds by blaming it all on politics and says he was done in by Trump. This WaPo “correspondent” buys McCabe’s line. https://t.co/hBqO5mHMiD— Brit Hume (@brithume) March 17, 2018
Well, this week, General Flynn was in California campaigning for Maxine Waters's opponent. This suggests to many that Mueller's big catch is not afraid of what's to come.
Sara Carter asks why Strzok and Page and the DoJ's Bruce Ohr (whose wife, we have learned, was working for the dossier smear merchants) have been silent. She says she doesn't know why, but some have guessed, not without warrant, that they are cooperating witnesses, and if they are, James Comey's book due to come out almost simultaneously – at last report – with the OIG's first report may not be his ticket to ride.
John Brennan, who couldn't keep his story to congressional investigators straight, is squealing like a stuck pig:
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you. https://t.co/uKppoDbduj— John O. Brennan (@JohnBrennan) March 17, 2018
This intemperate outburst prompted this response from Judicial Watch's Tom Fitton:
Over the top comments from this and other senior former Obama officials show why it isn't difficult to imagine the Obama intelligence apparatus' being misused and abused to target @realDonaldTrump. https://t.co/zpqwofpFyy— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) March 17, 2018
I wouldn't put odds on Mueller's investigation continuing much longer with so much of his work having been based on fatally compromised staffers. Adam Housely warns in a series of tweets that McCabe's firing was not political, and neither side should try to make it so, though he notes that this action will encourage others in the agency to come forward with what they know:
Wray and McCabe's meeting did not go well and it was McCabe who challenged the Director. McCabe stepped down because of this and tried to ride it out until retirement. Truth internally came out before that happened. This has nothing to do with Trumps tweets or Nunes memo
I am told yesterday McCabe felt the heat and went to try and save his last two days and even told some he would take people down with him if he was fired. So... let's see what comes of this. I know this... a ton of agents... a ton... were watching this very closely.
This was about power by a group within the FBI. A clique. I see Republicans already making this political and tying it in a much different way than it was. Dems tying it to Trump... both would be wrong.
This decision will encourage agents to trust coming forward. Others who had during the clique's time in charge got buried and mistreated and it kept agents from coming forward. Again… this began before Trump. It was about control.
It's hard to ignore, however, that this firing and the constant disclosures about those closest to Comey and McCabe likely will lead to a significant restructuring of the FBI. Whether it will restore faith in that corrupted agency remains to be seen.