The Russia investigation is continuing to proceed in this new year whether the Trump team likes it or not, but just because the president and his team members can’t put a stop to the investigation as a whole doesn’t mean they’re not going to attempt to undercut it.
To that end, last May, the president abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the federal government’s component of the Russia investigation at the time. In the aftermath of that firing, Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate the Russia scandal. Since then, Mueller has brought charges against four former associates of the president, including most recently, former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Understandably, then, the Trump team remains interested in softening the bite of the nation’s justice system. Trump has put this tendency on display numerous times through attacks on the nation’s justice system, including his already mentioned firing of James Comey.
Now, Axios is reporting that behind the scenes, Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions has joined in on the effort by trying to convince the man with whom the White House replaced Comey — Christopher Wray — to fire top level Justice Department officials including Andrew McCabe and James Baker.
Sessions has been casting his pushes as encouraging Wray to make a “fresh start.” According to one of the sources speaking to Axios — described as a “senior administration source” — Sessions has been pushing the FBI Director to make the transition since “shortly after Wray was confirmed,” with the conversations having “intensified from there.”
McCabe has actually already attracted scrutiny from the administration in the past, having been the subject of fake news-laden Twitter attacks from the president last summer while serving as Acting Director of the FBI after Comey’s firing and before Wray’s confirmation.
As Axios notes, it’s ironic that Trump set his sights on McCabe after it was his administration that appointed him to serve as Acting Director of the FBI.
Back in late July, Trump wrote on Twitter:
‘Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!’
As mentioned, Trump’s attacks on McCabe, which stretched over a period of days, were riddled with lies.
McCabe didn’t actually receive any of the Clinton associated cash — cash, that mind you, didn’t come from the Clinton camp, but rather from a Clinton ally.
In addition, McCabe wasn’t actually the one “in charge” of the Clinton email investigation; if someone was “in charge,” it was then-FBI Director James Comey.
Still, Trump has long made his opinions about the Clinton email investigation clear. He wishes that Clinton would have been charged with a crime, even though the orderly legal system already determined that she was innocent.
He was speaking against McCabe out of that place of total disrespect for law and order, which makes his haphazard treatment of the truth unsurprising.
Following his initial attacks on the official, McCabe was reported to be considering retiring after he became eligible for a pension, and the president hit him over that too.
As for Jeff Sessions, he was actually revealed to have secretly met with the then-Russian Ambassador to the U.S. during the Trump campaign and thus, as a possible subject of the investigation, had to recuse himself from the Russia probe.
Sessions reportedly having pushed Wray to fire top staff members doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s violating the terms of his recusal, but it’s still suspicious meddling in the affairs of the FBI, which Trump and his allies seem convinced is out to get him.
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