Attorney General Jeff Sessions has suggested Andrew McCabe authorized the FBI to talk to the media about a Hillary Clinton-related criminal inquiry. This was followed by the accusation he “lacked candor” when asked by internal investigators about it. As Deputy Director of the FBI, McCabe was responsible for authorizing conversations with the media, and it is not suggested McCabe “broke the law” when he authorized the FBI to talk to the media.
Did this event take place after James Comey was fired, and McCabe became the temporary head of the FBI (from May 9, 2017 to August 2, 2017). On April 20, 2017, CNN reported the FBI had changed its own internal policies, in an effort to minimize leaks to the press. The question then becomes, “Was Andrew McCabe the Acting Director of the FBI during the time he is accused of authorizing a conversation with the media?” If this event took place during the time he was the Acting Director, the accusation becomes even more questionable. But whether McCabe was Acting Director, or Deputy Director, he had the authority to make these decisions. Given his authority, questioning his decisions after the fact makes the accusations highly subjective. On the issue, McCabe has said,
“It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week.”
Details are not yet public, primarily because the Justice Department has refused to released the report developed by its own internal watchdog group. The lack of transparency makes McCabe’s firing very questionable and suspicious, given President Trump’s tweeted attacks on McCabe. President Trump sees McCabe, and the FBI, as part of the Mueller Investigation, and consequently classifies him as an enemy.
McCabe has stated his firing is the result an “ongoing war” against the FBI, and the Mueller Investigation. Donald Trump supported this conclusion by tweeting,
Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!
One explanation for McCabe’s firing might have to do with the Justice Department asking why the Mueller Investigation was still going strong. In response, McCabe asked,
“Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?”
The second allegation stated Andrew McCabe “lacked candor” during his description of authorizing investigators to speak with the media. The word candor means the state or quality of being frank, open, and sincere in speech or expression. They are not accusing him of lying, they are accusing him of not being frank, open, and sincere. If you have ever been tired during a conversation, the person you were speaking with might not believe you were being frank, open, and sincere. The decision on your sincerity, or frankness, is almost totally subjective.
There is also the timing to consider. The Justice Department fired McCabe one day before his retirement, in a process that was rushed. Given the President’s tweets against McCabe, it seems very likely the pressure was on Jeff Sessions to damage McCabe vindictively, by going after his retirement package.