A special kind of sleazy: Andrew McCabe's sneaky set-up of Reince Priebus
It's easy to think of swamp things as just the Washington establishment, good people who are simply set in their ways, obsessed with protocol and tradition. But then there's FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who shows what a real swamp thing is with his sleazy, deceptive, leak-trap set up for newly minted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus. McCabe took advantage of Reince's open, honest, honorable nature ... and screwed him over for having it.
Oh it's a disgusting story! Howie Kurtz reported it in his new book on the tumultuous early days of Trump White House called: Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press and the War Over the Truth, which sounds like one worth reading.
McCabe is suspected of leaking damaging information about Trump and Russia to the press, not because there was anything there, but because there wasn't. He just wanted to inflict pain.
According to Kurtz, he walked up to White House Chief of Staff Priebus and out of the blue, told him privately there was nothing there to a New York Times story claiming that Trump administration's officials had had repeated contact with the Russians. “We want you to know that everything in this New York Times story is bull--,” Kurtz reported him saying.
Being an honorable sort of person, Priebus asked McCabe if it would be all right if the FBI could say that in public. He was under great pressure from the press frenzy trying to fill out the New York Times' story. McCabe demurred to his boss, then-FBI Director James Comey, and Comey, of course, refused. As a bone, he offered to testify to that in Congress, but obviously, that was a long time off.
So here Priebus was, with information exonerating the Trump administration, and he wanted to honor McCabe's request, as if the truth itself out there was McCabe's personal possession, safer in McCabe's hands. O.K., that was a bit weak, but it was understandable. Priebus's real problem was that he didn't know he was dealing with a snake.
After all, get a load of McCabe's visage.
Look at him! Imagine you are Reince Priebus and this guy is telling you he knows your team is innocent. Look at the earnestness, the boyishness, the big green eyes, the retro glasses, all suggestive of 1960s Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. FBI values.
Nope, he was a snake.
Because as Priebus and other White House staff were mauled in the press feeding frenzy, a new story came out, one that Kurtz suspects McCabe could have been the only possible leaker for, unless it was Comey.
Now, a week later, CNN was airing a breaking news story naming Priebus. According to “multiple U.S. officials,” the network said, “the FBI rejected a White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Donald Trump’s associates and Russians known to U.S. intelligence.”
Priebus was stunned by the implication that he was pressuring law enforcement. Had he been set up? Why was the FBI leaking this information when one of its top officials had initiated the conversation?
Comey assured Priebus that afternoon that he hadn’t done anything wrong, but the story reverberated for days. “Is Reince Priebus Lying About the FBI?” Slate asked. “Reince Priebus Should Resign,” a Boston Globe columnist demanded. The damage was done.
What kind of a person does that to someone trying to protect him and keep open lines of communication? What kind of a sleazy operative or power player? Priebus was dealing with a swamp thing, not just of manners, but morals. And this is the guy James Comey claimed 'stood tall' against all the "small people" who got wise to his games and got rid of him.
Does the FBI need a good hosing out or what? These are dangerous, underhanded people who play unfathomably lowdown, dirty games.