Autopsy of the McCabe scandal, a peek behind the D.C. curtain

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: We can learn much from political news coverage. Not the stories, which are mostly chaff. But the dance of journalists and politicians reveals much about how our system works. It’s nothing like we were taught as children, because they treat us like children. We can change this if we choose to make the effort.

Crime and Scandal

Democrat’s latest thing is to denounce the firing of FBI FBI’s deputy director Andrew McCabe. Their reasons are vague. Perhaps lies are OK for Bill Clinton and allies of the Democrats? Did Trump do it? Or is this the Democrat’s round of the scandal game begun in the Reagan era, with the parties taking turns. After all, our two major parties agree on so many policies — foreign wars, domestic surveillance, big defense spending, light treatment of Wall Street, and subsidies for mega-corps — only screaming about scandals can keep the faithful fervent. Benghazi! Benghazi! RussiaGate! RussiaGate!

Just for fun, let’s review the facts as we know them today. Let’s attempt to take this seriously. As usual, facts first – good stuff at the end.

Statement by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR). The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe.  Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions.

The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability.  As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.’

Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately. {From Reuters.}

Making false statements to the FBI is a felony punishable with up to a five-year prison sentence.

Lisa Marie Boothe on Fox News about McCabe
Lisa Marie Boothe on Fox News. Providing entertainment for the poorly informed.

The defense speaks

Andrew McCabe served in the FBI from 1996 until March 16. He was the FBI’s deputy director from 2016 to January, and was acting director from May to August 2017. Here is the core of his defense, an excerpt from his WaPo op-ed. In style, it is quite like Nixon’s famous “Checkers” speech (a successful defense after getting caught in financial improprieties. Nixon defended his actions, talked about his long service and his family – plus his dog, Checkers – and attacked his opponents. McCabe did not mention his dog.

“I have been accused of ‘lack of candor.’ That is not true. I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them. At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted – and for that I take full responsibility. But that is not a lack of candor.”

It’s too early to say that.………

Laura Ingraham about McCabe firing

What’s going on?

Most of the commentary about this incident is the usual partisan chaff. For actual information, see this analysis at Lawfare by Quinta Jurecic and Benjamin Wittes. It acknowledges the limits of what we know, and debunks many of the claims by Democrats about the process of McCabe’s firing. The forms were followed. The people involved were either career officials or Obama appointees. Soon we will learn more.

“Anyone who is confidently pronouncing on the merits of Andrew McCabe’s firing Friday night is venturing well beyond the realm of known facts. …

“The FBI takes telling the truth extremely seriously: ‘lack of candor’ from employees is a fireable offense – and people are fired for it. Moreover, it doesn’t take an outright lie to be dismissed. , the bureau fired an agent after he initially gave an ambiguous statement to investigators as to how many times he had picked up his daughter from daycare in an FBI vehicle. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit  when he appealed, finding that “lack of candor is established by showing that the FBI agent did not ‘respond fully and truthfully’ to the questions he was asked.”

“Consider also that although Sessions made the ultimate call to fire McCabe, the public record shows that the process resulting in the FBI deputy director’s dismissal involved career Justice Department and FBI officials – rather than political appointees selected by President Trump – at crucial points along the way. To begin with, the charges against McCabe arose out of the broader Justice Department Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation into the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. While the inspector general is appointed by the president, the current head of that office, Michael Horowitz, was appointed by President Barack Obama and is himself a former career Justice Department lawyer.

, the inspector general has a great deal of statutory independence, which Horowitz has not hesitated to use: Most notably, he produced a highly critical 2012 report into the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ program. So a process that begins with Horowitz and his office carries a presumption of fairness and independence.

“After investigating McCabe, Horowitz’s office provided a report on McCabe’s conduct to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which investigates allegations of misconduct against bureau employees. This office is headed by , whom then-FBI Director Robert Mueller appointed to lead the OPR in 2004. According to Sessions, the Office of Professional Responsibility agreed with Horowitz’s assessment that McCabe “lacked candor” in speaking to internal investigators.

“Finally, Sessions’s statement references ‘the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official’ in advocating McCabe’s firing on the basis of the OIG and OPR determinations. (The official in question appears to be .)

“So while Sessions made the decision to dismiss McCabe, career officials or otherwise independent actors were involved in conducting the investigation into the deputy director and recommending his dismissal on multiple levels.”

Also: he has not “lost his pension”, as many stories say. He probably will lose some benefits. But his pension as an FBI bureaucrat will still be far better than almost everybody else in America gets. See details here.

Contrast this with the treatment of Michael Flynn for lying to the FBI

In today’s paper, the Editors of the Wall Street Journal complain about the hypocritical treatment of McCade and Flynn by Democrat’s and journalists. This is bizarre, but quite typical of them. Flynn was caught making multiple hard-core lies to FBI agents, proven by wire taps. He was also guilty of gross stupidity. As a retired Lt. General and former National Security Advisor, he should have suspected that the intel agencies would be monitoring the Russian’s telephones.

See the Department of Justice’s statement of his offense and his plea bargain.

Liberals scream about McCabe’s firing. That’s odd.

FBI lies about Martin Luther King Jr.

Liberals new love of our foreign wars and the Deep State is one of the strange deeds that give our era its Alice in Wonderland feel. The FBI has long been a foe of Liberals. In the past, FBI agents fought the civil rights and anti-war movements with a wide range of dirty tricks. In recent years they worked against Black Lives Matters. Caitlin Johnstone states the case with her usual brutal honesty: “On The 50th Anniversary Of MLK’s Death, Remember That The FBI Are Pure Scum.” Plus there is the FBI’s famously weird priorities: “Is the FBI cleaning up college basketball, or wasting its time?”  Spoiler: they are wasting their time and our money.

Even odder is the Liberals’ focus, or obsession, on Benghazi Benghazi BENGHAZI! RussiaGate, which increasingly resemble not just “inside baseball” (of little or no interest to the public), but Ahab’s pursuit of the White Whale. Meanwhile Trump’s apparatchiks, the GOP-run Congress, and the GOP-dominated Supreme Courts are quietly making America a nation of Plutocrats, run by Plutocrats, for Plutocrats. The evidence is clearly seen in Gallup’s weekly poll of Trump’s job approval. It has been stable since mid-May, and is now at the high end of its range. That is impressive after two years of saturation bombing by most of the major influence centers in America. Perhaps they should try a different approach, such as focusing on opposing his policies and proposing alternatives.

Gallup poll of Trump Job approval.

Conclusions

Perhaps Mueller will pull a rabbit out of his hat and destroy Trump. Perhaps Trump’s health will force his resignation. Most likely in my estimation, is that Trump’s administration is in a process of slow collapse brought about by his incompetence at the job and deteriorating performance under pressure.

"Change" signal

A history of unsuccessful smears of Trump

Nothing has worked, but Democrats try and try again. They are the “Anything But Policy” party.

  1. Why they lose: the Left tells us that Trump is like Hitler.
  2. The Left calls Trump an ‘authoritarian’, a false & futile attempt to suppress populism.
  3. The Left calls Trump a fascist instead of focusing on the issues. It’s why they lose.
  4. Does Donald Trump have a perverted attraction to Ivanka? Details of a smear.
  5. Did Trump have a perverted attraction to 12-year old Paris Hilton? Details of a smear.
  6. The hidden details of the October surprise about Trump’s “sexual assaults”.
  7. The moral panic over Trump’s lewd remarks reveals much about us — about the Arianne Zucker incident.

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