In Firing Andrew McCabe, Trump Has A New Problem–Notes

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On Tuesday, the media was all abuzz about Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s firing via tweet hours after returning from a tour of Africa he took to apologize for President Trump’s “shithole countries” comment.

Donald Trump did not wait even a full week before axing another high-level official–FBI director Andrew McCabe.

Tillerson’s firing was problematic enough, especially given his replacement, CIA director, Mike Pompeo, a Trump loyalist and the greatest beneficiary of campaign money from the notorious Charles and David Koch, and opponent of the 2015 nuclear program agreement between Iran and the United States.

But with McCabe, Trump has let go yet another FBI director who took notes like McCabe’s predecessor, James Comey, possibly digging himself even deeper into special council Robert Mueller‘s obstruction of justice inquiry and Russia’s possible involvement with the Trump campaign during the run up to the 2016 election.

Shortly after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe Friday night, McCabe linked his dismissal to Comey’s last year.

In his statement released shortly after the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced his dismissal, McCabe said:

“Here is the reality. I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”

McCabe has already turned over notes and memos about his interactions with the president to Mueller’s legal team. Axios reports McCabe has sat down with Mueller’s team for an interview.

John Dowd, a personal lawyer to President Trump, reportedly speaking only for himself, emailed a statement to National Public Radio (NPR) arguing it was time the Justice Department conclude Mueller’s investigation.

It reads:

“I pray that [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe’s boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier. Just end it on the merits in light of recent revelations.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Saturday in a statement:

“The president, the administration, and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel’s investigation or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans.”

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, tweeted:

“Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now.”

According to Vox, in firing McCabe, Jeff Session may have violated the recusal he agreed to last March regarding anything related to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign in which Sessions was a key player.

This is the contention of New York University law school professor, Ryan Goodman, who wrote on law-based blog Just Security:

“Some might contend that Sessions’ recusal covered only the Clinton and Trump campaigns, and that McCabe’s firing involved the Clinton Foundation investigation as a separate matter. But Sessions unequivocally assured senators of his intentions during his confirmation hearings in response to a clear and specific question from the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa). Sen. Grassley asked a follow-up question that went right to the point. In response, Sessions very clearly said his recusal would cover any matters involving the Clinton Foundation. If it is a close call whether the Clinton Foundation matter is sufficiently connected to the Clinton campaign for purpose of understanding Sessions’ recusal, it should be deemed to be sufficiently connected. After all, that’s essentially what Sessions told Sen. Grassley. Second, if the Clinton Foundation matter is deemed outside the scope of the recusal statement that Sessions made back in March last year, then his decision to fire McCabe shows that he failed to honor the promise for a broader recusal which he clearly made to the Senate in its decision to confirm him as Attorney General.”

Andrew McCabe was fired two days before retiring, forfeiting his retirement benefits.

Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.), however, announced Saturday afternoon he offered McCabe a job to work on election security, “so that he can reach the needed length of service” to retire.

Pocan said in a statement:

“My offer of employment to Mr. McCabe is a legitimate offer to work on election security. Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of American democracy and both Republicans and Democrats should be concerned about election integrity.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted he would consider hiring McCabe, too.

Image credit: Michael Reynolds/European Pressphoto Agency