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Mar 18 2018

The Russian Connection: McCabe Fired to Discredit Mueller

As was expected, Donald Trump had his Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe late Friday night just 26 hours before he was to retire effectively denying him a portion of his pension benefits. McCabe has stepped down from his position in January.

In a blistering statement Friday night, McCabe said his firing is part of a larger effort to discredit the FBI and the special counsel’s investigation.

“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally,” McCabe said. “It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.”

You can read McCabe’s full statement here

The review conducted by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz that was cited as the reason for the firing has not been released.

(It) is said to conclude that McCabe misled investigators about his role in directing other officials at the FBI to speak to The Wall Street Journal about his involvement in a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a source briefed on it.

CNN reported on Wednesday that the findings in Horowitz’s report on McCabe were referred to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, staffed with career officials, who recommended McCabe’s termination. McCabe, accompanied by his lawyer, tried making a last-ditch effort Thursday to avoid the firing, meeting with officials at the deputy attorney general’s office at the Justice Department for several hours while Sessions was traveling, but to no avail.

Horowitz’s office is continuing to investigate how the Justice Department and FBI handled sensitive investigations leading up to the 2016 presidential election — including the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server — and a more global report is expected this spring.

Sessions, who recused himself last year from any investigation of matters to do with the 2016 election, has violated that recusal because McCabe’s alleged transgression was related to the Hillary Clinton investigation.

McCabe has been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller III about the firing of FBI Director James Comey. He apparently kept contemporaneous notes, as is customary for lawyers, about his meetings with Trump and conversation with Comey about his conversations with Trump. Those memos are in Mueller’s hands.

McCabe revealed that he had three in-person interactions and one phone call with Trump, in which the President berated him each time about his wife’s failed Virginia Senate campaign.

It is unclear exactly what is in McCabe’s memos and if he memorialized every interaction he had with the President. McCabe did not keep a copy of his memos after turning them over to Mueller, the source confirmed. A spokesman for the special counsel’s office declined comment. [..]

McCabe also confirmed that the President asked him who he voted for in the 2016 election, which was reported back in January and which Trump denied.

The former No. 2 official at the FBI told CNN that Trump did not bring up the agency’s investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

With the GOP partisan ending of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the elections, deciding that it there was no “collusion” and the Russian’s were not trying to help trump, Trump’s personal attorney, John Dowd, has called for an end to Mueller’s investigation giving up the game that purpose of McCabe’s firing was to discredit Mueller.

Reached for comment by email about the firing of former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Dowd sent The Daily Beast the text of Trump’s most recent tweet on the subject, which applauded the dismissal. [..]

In making the statement, a senior member of Trump’s legal team joins the calls from his base to end the probe. As late as mid-December, another Trump lawyer, Ty Cobb, had brushed aside talk of stopped Mueller’s investigation, stressing that there was “no consideration at the White House of terminating the special counsel.” The president himself has called the Mueller probe a “witch hunt,” but has not publicly urged Rosenstein to shutter it.

When The Daily Beast initially asked Dowd if he was speaking on behalf of the president, he answered, “Yes as his counsel.” After publication of this story, however, Dowd emailed to say he was actually speaking in his personal capacity, and not on the president’s behalf.

McCabe has retained the ex-inspector general of the Justice department, Michael Bromwich, to represent him. he has also received offer of federal job to help him restore his eligibility for his pension

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

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

A spokeswoman for McCabe, Melissa Schwartz, didn’t immediately rule out a job with one of the most liberal members of Congress, which might only need to last for a day or so for him to get his full retirement benefits: “We are considering all options.”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) tweeted that he’d consider hiring McCabe, too. [..]

It’s not immediately clear if getting fired from the FBI on a Friday and going to work on Capitol Hill on a Monday would solve McCabe’s problems for certain, though at least one former federal official with knowledge of retirement rules says it probably would. [..]

With those 20 years, he would need to just go to work with the federal government for another day or so in any job he pleases, whether that’s as a election security analyst for a Wisconsin congressman or a typist for a day, to get full benefits, said the former official who spoke to The Fix. The job doesn’t matter so much as the fact that he’s working within the federal government with the same retirement benefits until or after his 50th birthday.

Trump is obviously lashing out at the news that Mueller had subpoenaed business records from the Trump Organization related to Russia.

The subpoena is the latest indication that the investigation, which Mr. Trump’s lawyers once regularly assured him would be completed by now, will continue for at least several more months. Word of the subpoena came as Mr. Mueller appears to be broadening his inquiry to examine the role foreign money may have played in funding Mr. Trump’s political activities. In recent weeks, Mr. Mueller’s investigators have questioned witnesses, including an adviser to the United Arab Emirates, about the flow of Emirati money into the United States.

Mr. Mueller has already indicted 13 Russians and three companies accused of meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign, and on Thursday, the Trump administration included them in sanctions it leveled at Moscow as punishment for interference in the campaign and “malicious cyberattacks.”

The Trump Organization has typically complied with requests from congressional investigators for documents for their own inquiries into Russian election interference, and there was no indication the company planned to fight Mr. Mueller’s order.

Last summer Trump had warned Mueller to stay out of the Trump family finances, that this was a “red-line.” Mueller response: subpoenas. There was also the matter of the rather unceremonious firing of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, appointing CIA Director Mike Pompeo to fill his shoes, and the nomination of a Bush era war criminal and current CIA Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo. It’s been a messy week for Trump, who remained holed up in the White House of the weekend tweeting nasty, childish remarks about

While I have no love for McCabe, he helped Comey prepare the memo to the House Intelligence Committee regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, this is pure Trump vindictiveness fueled by his paranoia of a so-called “deep state” that exists only in his mind and the minds of his base.