Yes, McCabe Should Have Been Fired. No, It Has Nothing To Do With Mueller's Investigation. | Eastern North Carolina Now

    Publisher's note: This informational nugget was sent to me by Ben Shapiro, who represents the Daily Wire, and since this is one of the most topical news events, it should be published on BCN.

    On Friday, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired by the Department of Justice, just two days shy of his retirement, thus preventing him from receiving his pension. The media, naturally, jumped to the conclusion that it was a political hit - but the facts don't support that contention. According to 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.

    This is perfectly legitimate. The OPR is non-partisan and appoints career bureaucrats. The Office of the Inspector General is run by Michael Horowitz, who isn't exactly a Trump darling: "Isn't the IG an Obama guy?" Trump tweeted just a few weeks ago. McCabe was ousted because he apparently leaked information to the media.

    That information, according to The New York Times, concerned Hillary Clinton: apparently McCabe had leaked that the FBI wanted to investigate the Clinton Foundation's financial dealings, and that the DOJ wanted to stop them. Here's that report:

    In October 2016, The Wall Street Journal revealed a dispute between F.B.I. and Justice Department officials over how to proceed in an investigation into the financial dealings of the Clinton family's foundation. The article revealed a closed-door meeting during which senior Justice Department officials were dismissive of the evidence and declined to authorize subpoenas or grand jury activity. Some F.B.I. agents, the article said, believed that Mr. McCabe had put the brakes on the investigation. Others rejected that notion. The Journal, citing sources including "one person close to Mr. McCabe," revealed a tense conversation with a senior Justice Department official in which Mr. McCabe insisted that the F.B.I. had the authority to press ahead with the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The inspector general has concluded that Mr. McCabe authorized F.B.I. officials to provide information for that article, according to the four people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the report before it is published.

    Suspicion regarding McCabe's connections to the Clintons wasn't unwarranted either, given his wife's cozy relationship with the Clinton team in Virginia. Even FBI director Jim Comey's chief of staff, Jim Rybicki, wanted McCabe to recuse himself, as did anti-Trump FBI agents Lisa Page and Peter Strzok.

    All of this could have been relatively apolitical. After all, McCabe isn't clean here. But instead, President Trump immediately suggested corruption in the Mueller investigation, and one of his lawyers suggested that Trump should fire Mueller.

    But what in the world does this have to do with the Mueller investigation? The answer: nothing, so far as we know. The working theory in the Trump White House seems to be that a group of nefarious political actors got together in March 2016 and launched an investigation into Trump-Russia collusion in order to "get" him - and then didn't leak that information for the entirety of the election, even as Comey first exonerated, then damned, then exonerated Hillary again, perhaps costing her the election. There is simply no logical connection between McCabe's firing on the basis of the OPR report and the Mueller investigation. That investigation may come up with nothing - I think it probably will. But the president just made a non-political issue look like a political hit, and gave McCabe the grounds to claim that he's been dismissed as part of an act of political revenge bordering on obstruction. That isn't smart.

    Trump should sit back and relax. Mueller doesn't seem to have much of anything, and if Trump is innocent, he'll have no shortage of defenders. But leaping to use every brick as a club against Mueller looks more desperate than strategic or innocent.
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