Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe has been in the spotlight this week. A couple of days ago it was revealed that McCabe was under investigation for numerous violations of the Hatch Act. This investigation is tied to another ongoing investigation of McCabe by the Department of Justice IG into McCabe’s role in exonerating Hillary Clinton in her email scandal and the propriety of his involvment as his wife was recipient of Hillary Clinton’s support as she was running for state senator in Virginia. Then we learned that McCabe had a personal ax to grind with Mike Flynn as Flynn was a hostile witness in a sex discrimination complaint filed by an FBI agent against McCabe. Also perking beneath the surface is McCabe’s role in the Trump dossier fiasco. We know the FBI offered to pay the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, $50,000 to dig up additional derogatory information on Trump as he was running for office. The FBI refuses to either confirm or deny that they made such a payment and if they did, the deputy FBI director, that would have been McCabe, would have been the person who would have signed off on the contract. Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Charles Grassley sent a letter to the FBI yesterday asking for all the FISA warrants applied for aimed at members of the Trump campaign and he was particularly interested in the role the Trump dossier played on getting those warrants.
As a minimum, the fact that the acting director of the FBI has a personal grudge against a guy he was investigating (leave aside the leak from the FBI that caused Flynn to get fired) and is being investigated for illegal electioneering should be troubling. Apparently Grassley thinks so, too.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is raising questions about possible conflicts of interest with acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and the FBI’s investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
Grassley released a letter Thursday to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in which he raised concerns about McCabe’s independence. The letter comes as conservative media outlets are increasingly targeting McCabe and other officials involved in the investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia in the Kremlin’s efforts to influence the presidential election.
Grassley noted that the Justice Department inspector general is investigating whether McCabe should have recused himself from the Hillary Clinton email probe, since McCabe’s wife got donations from Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally, when she ran for a Virginia state Senate seat.
Grassley also hit McCabe over a gender-discrimination complaint filed against the FBI. The senator said Flynn filed a letter of support for the FBI agent who reported the discrimination.
“That evidence and the failure to recuse calls into question whether Mr. McCabe handled the Flynn investigation fairly and objectively, or whether he had any retaliatory motive against Flynn for being an adverse witness to him in a pending proceeding,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley also throws in this little zinger:
On December 14, 2016, the FBI provided the ethical and recusal protocol applied to Mr. McCabe regarding his potential conflicts of interest in ongoing and future FBI investigations. Oddly, Mr. McCabe was the approval authority for his own recusal memo. That document contains a number of redactions. The Committee requires unredacted copies of the document for its inquiry
So instead of asking Department of Justice for its opinion on whether he should have recused himself from the Clinton investigation, McCabe provided his own justification.
Essentially, Grassley is asking Rod Rosenstein why in the hell Anderw McCabe is still involved in much of anything.
You can read the whole letter here.
Grassley’s response is long overdue. It was obvious from last summer that McCabe was conflicted out the wazoo in dealing with Clinton and why anyone thought he was a credible person to lead a political investigation of a Republican president’s campaign remains a mystery. This is before the Hatch Act and the personal grudge with Flynn became known.
I think this demand for recusal of McCabe without a confirmed FBI director indicates that we are going to see this entire investigation go in two directions. Mueller is going to be out to do what special counsels always do: collect scalps. He will bring some indictments for lying to federal investigators (Carter Page is my favorite candidate here) and financial shenanigans (Manfort and one or more of Flynn’s business partners and possibly Flynn). We might even see a leaker or two indicted. The House and Senate investigations are obviously focused on the process that got us here. They are looking at the Obama administration’s response to Russian shenanigans, at unmasking of US persons caught in FISA communications intercepts, the Trump dossier, etc. The one thing no one is really looking at is Russian collusion. For a very simple reason. That subject has been under investigation for nearly a year and it has produced nothing.