As the Trump administration drags on, so do the tell-all books. Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has a book coming this month called The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, but the White House isn’t worried — at least, that’s what they want us to think. This week, administration communications official Mercedes Schlapp ranted against the work and its author, claiming the former Justice Department official to be nothing more than a liar seeking to make a quick buck.
She ranted to journalist Tim Farley:
‘I just think that McCabe is so not credible in any way. As we know there was the Inspector General who came out with a report basically saying that he was unfit for his position at the FBI and that he’s pretty much a partisan hack. I mean he is just someone who really is… he’s a liar. He falls into the category of the James Comeys of the world.’
On today’s Morning Briefing, White House Director of Strategic Communications @mercedesschlapp reacted to news of former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe’s role in initiating the investigation into Trump’s ties with Russia. pic.twitter.com/COze4Of8n9
— Tim Farley (@MorningBriefing) February 14, 2019
There’s a lot of posturing in her assertions, but there’s little substance. To be clear, the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General concluded that McCabe had misrepresented his role in information about then-ongoing FBI probes into the Clintons getting out to the media back in 2016, but it’s a leap of faith at best to suggest they concluded he was “basically a partisan hack” and that he was “unfit” for the FBI. They did not conclude whether or not it was appropriate for him to have been fired, even though he was dismissed about a month before their report came out.
In other words, Schlapp’s ranting fits into a broader pattern of the Trump team going after the Justice Department with little apparent tangible drive besides that it dared oppose them.
As for the comparison to James Comey, the former FBI director has not been convicted of a crime no matter the dramatic breadth of the Trump team’s complaints — and the president’s efforts to get a criminal investigation opened into the high profile figure. Trump dismissed Comey back in 2017 while he was leading the Russia investigation, claiming him to have mishandled the Clinton email investigation — until, within days, he jumped right into his apparent real reasoning that getting rid of Comey could curtail the Russia probe.
It didn’t. In the time since, McCabe has claimed that the original memo Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein produced tying Comey’s ouster to the Clinton probe even “wasn’t his idea” and he was left “shaken” by the incident.
In the time since, Trump has only intensified his efforts to thwart the Russia investigation and the independent functioning of the Justice Department overall. In his recent State of the Union address, he decried the “ridiculous partisan investigations” he’s facing and went so far as to compare them to literal war — but literally the next day, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced his plans for a new and improved probe into the Trump team’s relationship with Russia and even any other foreign interests.
Meanwhile, the final report from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe is only getting closer.
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