After former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired for cause -- based on the recommendation of the Bureau's nonpartisan ethics office, which reviewed the findings of the DOJ's nonpartisan Inspector General -- a number of observers quickly began to question whether McCabe had dropped James Comey into hot water, too. Comey testified before Congress that he'd never engaged in unauthorized leaking and had also never approved such a leak. But on his way out the door, McCabe stated that the impropriety for which he was fired was green-lit by his boss at the time. So did Comey perjure himself? According to Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and CNN's sources, McCabe didn't just mislead IG investigators. He also misled Comey:
The internal FBI report that served as grounds for the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe includes key testimony from his former boss that shows a discrepancy with McCabe's public statements, sources say https://t.co/zqlEbCf179— CNN (@CNN) March 31, 2018
Former FBI Director James Comey told internal investigators at the Justice Department that he could not recall McCabe telling him about having authorized FBI officials to talk to a reporter about an ongoing investigation, the sources said. Comey's comments to the Justice Department's inspector general's office, which were later included as part of the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility report on McCabe that prompted his firing earlier this month, put him at odds with the statements McCabe has made about authorizing FBI officials to provide information to the Wall Street Journal in an October 2016 story about FBI and Justice Department tensions over an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe has publicly maintained that he was in a position to authorize the other FBI officials speaking with the reporter and that Comey was aware McCabe had done it.
The Washington Post has more:
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said in an interview that McCabe lied to Comey when Comey asked him how sensitive information ended up in an October 2016 Wall Street Journal story detailing internal tension at the FBI and Justice Department over an investigation into matters surrounding the Clinton Foundation. Jordan’s staffers, along with staffers for Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, were permitted this week to view a report on McCabe from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, Jordan said. Neither Meadows nor his spokesman responded to requests for comment. According to Jordan, the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility determined that McCabe lied to his superiors and investigators four times: to Comey in October 2016; to FBI investigators in May 2017; and to the Office of the Inspector General twice, beginning in the summer.
If that's what the IG determined -- and we'll have that report soon enough -- that's quite a lot of mendacity. Question, though: If McCabe lied to Comey, why did the fired FBI Director go to bat for his second-in-command after he was abruptly removed from his post in late January?
Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.— James Comey (@Comey) January 30, 2018
Isn't that tweet an implied slap at new FBI chief Christopher Wray, who made the decision to boot McCabe from the job? And at the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility? And at the Inspector General? Maybe not. Comey could have been reflexively defending a longtime colleague, unaware of the exact reasons that led to his ouster (then eventual firing, which impacted his pension). At the time, the details of McCabe's removal were hazy; they've since come into sharper focus. Ironically, it's possible that in his self-righteous rush defend his legacy and attack his critics ("small people" was likely a salvo at Trumpworld), Comey sided with someone who didn't tell him the truth about a significant matter, placing both of them in possible legal jeopardy. Now that we're learning more about reasons and process behind the firing, however, might a Comey denunciation of McCabe be forthcoming? That's possible, but I wouldn't bet on it. Back to the CNN piece:
Another source familiar with the matter argued that the discrepancy between the two accounts is more about the fact that they are recalling the interaction differently than a dispute about what took place, saying both were acting in "good faith." "They recall it differently," the source said. "Andy thinks in good faith he told him, and Comey in good faith says he wasn't told." The source added that "the notion that the two guys are pitted against each other is crazy."
There's the line that both Comey and McCabe could adopt -- and may, in fact, have been planted by one of them. It gives each of them wiggle room to argue that McCabe didn't necessarily lie per se, but rather that this is all merely a result of different interpretations of a good-faith 'miscommunication.' That explanation didn't seem to convince the IG, but it could keep Comey out of trouble on the perjury front, without forcing him to throw McCabe -- a figure he likely still views as a fellow victim -- under the bus. Meanwhile, McCabe has announced that he's cutting off his 'legal defense' fundraising page after the total sum of donations blew past, um, half a million dollars:
“The outpouring of support on GoFundMe has been simply overwhelming and has led to contributions that have left us stunned and extraordinarily grateful. The GoFundMe campaign began organically, with generous people spontaneously giving to accounts that others had set up. I never imagined that I would need to rely on this type of assistance. The fact is that if I am going to continue taking a stand against the unfair way I have been treated, I will need the help of a talented and courageous team behind me..."
This guy was canned because he improperly leaked information to the media, then allegedly lied to multiple people about it (re-read the last bolded line from the WaPo story above) -- including his then-boss and Inspector General investigators. But because President Trump doesn't like the guy and obnoxiously reveled in his departure, legions of resisters showered him with money, many of whom were likely under the mistaken impression that McCabe had lost his entire seven-figure federal pension. In fact, the firing means that he just has to wait longer to become eligible to draw from that extremely generous, taxpayer-funded retirement fund. That's a reduction, not a zeroing-out. And by the way, not only is McCabe's wife -- remember her? -- a successful doctor, the happy couple lives in a home that's probably worth over a million bucks.
But hey, the man is a cause celebre among the anti-Trump, Maddowist Left, so he's suddenly flush with donated cash. Not a bad deal for a guy who was sacked for breaking professional protocol and lying to federal investigators about it, huh? In our increasingly stupid politics, tribalistic spite is a powerful motivator.