The Corner

Politics & Policy

Remember When Andrew McCabe Was a Martyr for Truth and Justice?

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 7, 2017. (Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters)

Not long ago, Andrew McCabe’s firing was supposed to be a great offense against justice. Here is a pretty good example of the heavy breathing over it. Well, since then we’ve had a devastating IG report about McCabe’s lack of truthfulness. Jonathan Turley had a good summation the other day:

At issue is the leak to The Wall Street Journal about an FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation.

Notably, the report itself belies the allegation of McCabe that he was victim of a witch hunt loyalists.  Not only was Horowitz an Obama appointee but his staff were all career officials. More importantly, the report confirms that opened this review a week before Trump was sworn in. It preceded and had no connection to Mueller.

The report takes apart McCabe’s spin with clinical precision.  It found that McCabe, 50, lied or misled investigators on not one but four occasions.  It also found that these lies were clearly meant to help McCabe alone.  McCabe said that he had full authority to make the disclosures.  The IG found no evidence to support those claims. It also found that there was no evidence that then FBI Director James Comey was informed by McCabe. The IG states:

“[W]e concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception.”

So let’s sum up.  The IG found that McCabe lied on four occasions.  It found that he did so for personal benefit.  He further showed no contrition and allegedly falsely implicated his superior in the improper leaking of information to the media.

Even James Comey agrees with this harsh verdict. Byron York notes this from yesterday:

In an appearance on ABC’s “The View” earlier Wednesday, Comey said he ordered the probe that eventually led to McCabe’s firing, and believes McCabe lied about his conversations with the media.

“The McCabe case illustrates what an organization that’s committed to the truth looks like. We investigated — I ordered that investigation. We investigate and hold people accountable,” Comey said Wednesday morning. “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there are severe consequences in the Justice Department for lying as there should be throughout the government.

Finally, all this raises the question why McCabe isn’t facing the same potential consequences as people caught up in the Mueller probe who have lied to the FBI. Turley again:

As noted earlier, Flynn was indicted for criminal false statements on less.  He now faces a prison stint after pleading guilty to a single false statement about a meeting with Russian diplomats during the Trump presidential transition period. While Flynn did not deny the meeting, which was entirely legal, he denied discussing sanctions with the Russians. Mueller charged him with lying or misleading federal investigators under 18 U.S.C. 1001. He did so even though investigators working under former FBI Director James Comey reportedly had concluded that Flynn did not intend to lie and should not be charged criminally for the omission.

McCabe has used the Flynn defense that he was “confused and distracted” but unlike Flynn it appears (thus far) to have worked.

The issue is not as much the crying need to indict McCabe as it is the lack of consistency of how this law is being applied.

Now, comes word that there’s been a criminal referral for McCabe.

Rich Lowry — Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via email: comments.lowry@nationalreview.com. 

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