The McCabe Testimony Is DEVASTATING! – Former FBI Deputy Director Conflicts with Rosenstein – Can’t Answer Questions – Sounds Crazy
Guest post by Joe Hoft
Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe met in front of Congress in December 2017 and the notes released yesterday are devastating. Below are segments from a cursory review of questions of Andrew McCabe in front of US lawmakers on December 21, 2017.
P 26 Toscas led Hillary email investigation – He reported to Carlin – who reported to Yates – who reported to Lynch
Yates and Lynch didn’t recuse themselves but kept out of it
P 32 DOJ made decisions to offer witnesses immunity (not the FBI)
P 50 McCabe lies about disclosing investigations – he leaked Clinton Foundation under investigation to press. This was a major bone of contention to the Democrats on the Committee – the fact that the FBI never held a presser to state that there was an investigation into candidate Trump –
Mr. Nadler. Okay. Why did the FBI decide not to disclose that the FBI was investigating this issue related to the Trump campaign before the election?
Mr. McCabe. Why did we — why did we decide not to?
Mr. Nadler. Yes.
Mr. McCabe. I’m not sure that it was a matter that came up for decision. I think it was consistent with our existing policy, which is to never confirm or deny the existence of an investigation with the exception of those special circumstances that Director Comey testified to.
Mr. Nadler. With the exception of the Clinton investigation.
If the FBI had disclosed before the election that it was investigating possible coordination between the Russians and the Trump campaign, would that have potentially had a negative impact on the President’s ability — on the candidate Trump’s ability to get elected?
P 52 McCabe involved in decision for Comey to announce Hillary email no charges presser –
Mr. Nadler. Were you part of discussions about whether Director Comey should make that announcement publicly?
Mr. McCabe. Yes.
Mr. Nadler. When was the decision made to do it as a press conference?
Mr. McCabe. Not too long before the press conference.
Mr. Nadler. Okay. What were the reasons that Director Comey ultimately chose to make that announcement publicly?
Mr. McCabe. So, to the best of my knowledge, and also without going into classified matters, Director Comey was greatly concerned about how we would make — just exactly how that process would take place. We discussed, over the course of many weeks, essentially, what does the end look like for this investigation. Not just what are we seeing in the evidence that we’re collecting — I mean, that was a constant topic of conversation amongst the team. We’d meet at least once a week to get a status update in terms of, what had the email exploitation told us, what had we heard back from our partners around the USIC, what were we getting from our interviews. And, ultimately, we would query the investigators and the investigative leadership over the team to say, where are we? What are you seeing in terms of what evidence do we have of intentional mishandling of documents? And week, after week, after week the answer was we don’t have much.
So as that’s progressing, we start thinking, okay, what does the end of this investigation look like? It’s either going to look like we recommend and the Department chooses to pursue a charge, in which case, that’s something we’re very familiar with. That’s what most investigations look like at the end. Although, in this case there was the possibility that we wouldn’t be in a position to recommend to the Department that they pursue a charge. And how would that best be communicated. And Director Comey felt that, for several reasons, that the Department was not in a good position to be able to communicate that in a credible and effective way, in light of all of the intense interest across the country in, where were we, and what was our result going to be.
P 60 McCabe says he didn’t discuss political ramifications of Hillary case –
Mr. McCabe. I mean, we were acutely aware of the fact that she was running for President, and that conducting an investigation in that environment was challenging. But we did not discuss the political ramifications on Hillary Clinton or anyone else.
P 63 McCabe denies Comey made up his mind on Hillary case even after Chairman Goodlatte handed him Comey memo exonerating Hillary 2 months before interviewing Hillary. McCabe says no decision made. Meadows jumps in and asks if this ever happened before –
Mr. Meadows. So is this common practice, in normal investigations of every type, to do a memo 2 months ahead of time to lay out what you’re going to say with a conclusion? So let’s take it outside of this particular person. How many other times does that happen?
Mr. McCabe. No, sir, it’s not common.
Mr. Meadows. So this is a unique situation where he did it this one time?
Mr. McCabe. This is the only time I am aware of, sir.
P 67 – Gowdy asks who all made the decision to exonerate Hillary if she was interviewed on a Saturday and Monday was the 4th of July holiday and Comey announced exoneration on Tuesday?
Chairman Gowdy. Right, Saturday. And I think the press conference was Tuesday. So we’ve got Saturday. Then we got Sunday. Then we got Monday, which may have been a holiday. And then we’ve got Tuesday. That long list that you gave me of people who were part of this investigation, where did y’all meet to discuss her interview and what you got out of that interview before you made the charging decision.
Mr. McCabe. I discussed the results of the interview with members of the team over the phone. And I know that other members of the team met, I think, on Sunday. But I was not a part of that meeting.
Chairman Gowdy. Why would you not have been a part of that meeting?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t recall.
Chairman Gowdy. Was that a meeting to decide whether or not to make a charging decision?
Mr. McCabe. We were all focused on the results of the interview. The results of the interview, as I recall, were not significant. Essentially, we didn’t — we didn’t gather anything in the interview that substantially changed our perception that we — or changed — spoke to the issue of intent.
Mr. Meadows. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Gowdy. Yes.
Mr. Meadows. So let me make — I’m confused. So Director Comey took all this time to draft a document to be well prepared, 2 months ahead of time, interviews the key witness on a Saturday, and your whole team did not get together to actually come up with the results before you had a press conference? How do you reconcile the two of those?
Mr. McCabe. As I have said, I recall participating in a conference call with several members of the team on Saturday, immediately after the interview. I did not participate in a meeting.
Mr. Meadows. Do you not find that — if we’re being so prepared, that 2 months ahead of time, that all of a sudden now what we’re going to do is we’re going to have a telephone on the most critical, unique investigation that we’ve had, and we’re going to go ahead and spell that on a Tuesday. Would you not think that the whole team would get together and review that?
Mr. McCabe. Sir, all I can tell you is I didn’t.
P 69 Gowdy destroys McCabe on when Comey decided to make decision on whether to prosecute Hillary
Chairman Gowdy. There are two decisions that I’m really interested in. One is the decision that we’ve been referencing, which is whether or not it met the statutory elements. The other decision I’m interested in was Director Comey’s decision to appropriate the decision away from the Department of Justice. When was that decision made? When was the decision made that the Bureau would handle the announcement of the decision and not the Department of Justice?
Mr. McCabe. Director Comey — I’m sorry. What was that?
Mr. Brower. I’m sorry. I’m unclear. Excuse me, Mr. Gowdy. What decision? The recommendation decision?
Chairman Gowdy. No. The decision to appropriate the decision away from the Department of Justice. You and I have discussed it is an unusual fact pattern for the Bureau to announce charging decisions. That’s typically done by the prosecutor. It wasn’t done in this case. At some point, Director Comey made the decision that he was going to have a press conference and announce the decision on charging. When was the decision to take it away from the Department of Justice made?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t know the exact — I can’t give you an exact date when Director Comey decided to make a public statement rather than just conferring his recommendation to the Department privately. I don’t know the exact date of that. It was something that he began discussing with a — with a group of us a few weeks before he made the statement.
Chairman Gowdy. But it had to be before May, or there would be no need to draft what’s a pretty unusual press statement.
Mr. McCabe. I don’t believe that Director Comey had made the decision to go forward with the statement at the time he made the draft. I think Director Comey —
Chairman Gowdy. A lot of time —
Mr. McCabe. — was examining it as a possibility. It was something he was considering. But if you’re asking me when he decided to go forward with the statement, rather than a communication to the Department, I don’t know the date of that.
Chairman Gowdy. Deputy Director, it’s not just a decision. It’s an unprecedented decision. I cannot think of another fact pattern where a SAC appropriated the charging decision to himself and excluded the Assistant United States Attorney or the United States Attorney. So it’s not unusual, it’s unprecedented. So that’s a lot of effort to be put into something that you haven’t decided to do yet.
Mr. McCabe. Is that a question?
Chairman Gowdy. Sure.
Mr. McCabe. Well, I don’t — I don’t know that I agree with your premise that Director Comey appropriated the decision to charge from the Department of Justice. Director Comey made the decision to make public his recommendation to the Department that we did not collect the evidence necessary to support a charge.
Chairman Gowdy. You and I both know that those are distinctions that don’t make a difference. When the head of the world’s premier law enforcement agency tells the world, we don’t have sufficient evidence on an indispensable element of the offense, there is no way to go forward. There is no prosecutor good enough to win that case, when the head of the investigatory entity has already concluded we don’t have an essential element. So his press conference was the decision. And I want to know when he made the decision to have the press conference.
Mr. McCabe. I would say in the days — as I said before, in the days immediately preceding the press conference.
Chairman Gowdy. Well, then why were you drafting a memo in May?
Mr. McCabe. I was not drafting a memo in May. Director Comey drafted and shared a memo in May. The best I can tell you, sir, is to my understanding, from my perception, at that time, Director Comey was working through, in his own way, what that conclusion would look like if that’s where we ended up at the end of the case.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Gowdy. Yes.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Deputy Director, you just said that you believed that Director Comey made that decision in the days before the press conference was actually held. That’s entirely consistent with what Attorney General Lynch testified under oath. She said she took herself out of any decision-making following the June 30th tarmac meeting. To her words, she said she cast a shadow of a doubt on the integrity of the Department of Justice. Likewise, Director Comey gave sworn testimony before various congressional committees that said that tarmac meeting led heavily into his decision to hold the press conference and to appropriate this decision. All of that lines up.
What it doesn’t line up with is his own memo of May the 2nd, where he says, more than a month before that, “If I decided to do an FBI-only press event,” how do you reconcile that? How do you reconcile this with the sworn testimony, under oath, of then-Director Comey, Attorney General Lynch, and yourself?
Mr. McCabe. Sir, all I can do is point you to Director Comey’s language in which he says, I’ve been trying to imagine what it would look like if I decided to do an FBI-only press event. And my understanding is that at that time, that’s what he was doing.
Mr. Ratcliffe. You received this memo on the 2nd. And then you just testified under oath he made that decision a few days before. He testified under oath that he did as well. So did the Attorney General. It’s inconsistent with that. Your own testimony today is inconsistent with it.
Mr. McCabe. I don’t believe that the memo indicates that he had made the decision to go forward with the press event at the time he drafted the memo. I think the memo says, as I interpret it, that he was thinking through what that would look like and what he would say, but he hadn’t made the final decision to do it.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. So it sounds like you can’t reconcile that.
Can you reconcile —
Mr. McCabe. That’s what I said. But –
Mr. Ratcliffe. Can you reconcile for me how the language in this memo, the very specific language about Hillary Clinton not acting intentionally but only acting carelessly, or being careless with respect to the handling of classified information, and that she didn’t intend to harm our national security, the language in here, in this May 2nd memo, is exactly the same language that President Obama used publicly a month before, on April the 10th?
Mr. McCabe. I’m not aware of that.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Can you reconcile that, how he would have used that exact same language publicly?
Mr. McCabe. I can’t explain to you why Director Comey chose to use the language he did.
Chairman Goodlatte. Let me follow up on this. So your testimony is that this was all just speculation on the Director’s part, that this would be one alternative, not just the decision, but also that it be an FBI-only decision?
Mr. McCabe. I think what I have said, sir, is that at this time, he was exploring this. As I read the document and recollect our exchanges, he was exploring this as an option. I don’t believe he had made the final decision to do this at that time.
Chairman Goodlatte. Well, I guess the final decision isn’t final until you get there. But all of this took place before Secretary Clinton was interviewed, correct?
Mr. McCabe. That’s correct.
Chairman Goodlatte. Let me ask you this: How many other witnesses were interviewed by the Bureau after this memo was written?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t know the answer to that, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte. Was it more than 10?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t know. I wouldn’t want to speculate. We can certainly find that out. I just don’t know.
Chairman Goodlatte. More than 20?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t know, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte. I do know. It’s more than 20, in fact. Why would the Secretary do that with more than 20 witnesses ahead and the subject of the investigation?
Mr. McCabe. Why would the Secretary do that?
Chairman Goodlatte. Why would the Director do that?
Mr. McCabe. As I’ve said, sir, I think I’ve been pretty clear about my understanding of what Director Comey was trying to do with the memo.
Chairman Goodlatte. And I guess in answer to my earlier question, let me ask you again, to your knowledge, was there an alternate draft statement recommending that Secretary Clinton be charged?
Mr. McCabe. Not to my knowledge, sir.
P 78 Ratcliffe on intent
Mr. Ratcliffe. Deputy Director, I hope you understand why we want to find out the folks that were involved in —
Mr. McCabe. I do.
Mr. Ratcliffe. — making these edits. Because, clearly, based on this you were being asked to edit what would be the final product from May the 2nd, Comey’s first email on this. My question is — I’m not calling for a legal conclusion here. The statute very clearly — and, in fact, this May 2 email says, “violation of Federal statute makes it a felony to mishandle classified information either intentionally or in a grossly negligent way.” But you have repeatedly said we weren’t finding evidence of intent. At what point were you told that intent was the element that you were focusing on, and grossly negligent wasn’t going to be enough for the team to then begin editing to that point?
Chairman Goodlatte. Before we get into that whole subject, our time is just about up. I want to ask one more question related to this redaction, if I may. After the redaction, it has OGC.
Mr. McCabe. Yes, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte. So that’s the Office of General Counsel?
Mr. McCabe. That’s right.
Chairman Goodlatte. So would that have been Lisa Page?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t know who it is. It is possible it could be. That’s certainly possible, but I don’t want to confirm for you —
Chairman Goodlatte. You don’t know or you don’t recall?
Mr. McCabe. I don’t recall. I don’t know as I sit here today.
Chairman Goodlatte. Because you prepared this document.
Mr. McCabe. That’s right, sir, on May 6, 2016.
Chairman Goodlatte. Got it. Okay. So you will take back to the Department our request that we find out whose name is on —
Mr. McCabe. Yes, sir.
Chairman Goodlatte. — the redacted thing.
P 89 McCabe denies harboring any bias nor did anyone else have any –
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. First of all, did you harbor any bias in the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails?
Mr. McCabe. Absolutely not, sir.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Do you believe that Secretary — Director Comey harbored any bias in this particular investigation?
Mr. McCabe. No, sir.
Mr. Krishnamoorthi. Are you aware of anybody who harbored any political bias at the FBI in investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails?
Mr. McCabe. I was not aware of any political bias during the course of that investigation in any way whatsoever.
P 92 McCabe says on July 27th he removed Strzok from Mueller team – an attorney on the team (Weissmann?) notified him –
Mr. McCabe. On July 27th of this year, as I was serving as acting director, I was contacted by the attorney — I’m sorry — the inspector general’s office at the Department. They asked me — they said they had a very important matter for me to review and they needed me to come across the street and talk to them that day, which was unusual.
P 108 McCabe gets caught in many lies – one about Lynch staying away from the Hillary investigation –
Chairman Gowdy. So this is at least one interaction between the Director of the FBI and the Attorney General. Do you know what the calls or the impetus for that interaction was, given what you said earlier that there was an uncharacteristically low level of interaction? Do you know why he went to talk to her.
Mr. McCabe. Why he went to talk to her about —
Chairman Gowdy. Whatever they went to talk about.
Mr. McCabe. That led to the conversation about call it a matter, not an investigation? I do not know. My assumption is that that exchange took place in a conversation that they had regarding the process or the decision to make a public acknowledgment of the case. It would have — would have happened contemporaneous with that decision and that public acknowledgment.
P 122 McCabe starts hearing things –
Mr. McCabe. She did. We — I don’t know if it was the day of or the day after Director Comey’s announcement on the 5th, we traveled over to the Department and met with the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General, all the attorneys and folks who had been involved in the case.
Sorry, I thought I heard a dog.
And we basically presented how we thought about it, but most of the — honestly most of the meeting was the line attorneys who had handled the investigation, presented to the Attorney General their view of the evidence and the law and the recommendation that no charges be pursued.
P 143 Gowdy shames McCabe and the Democrats for their questioning – brilliant –
Chairman Gowdy. All right. Thank you. I want to make one observation. Then my colleague is going to handle the rest of it. Reasonable minds are free to disagree about whether or not this is a productive use of your time. It wasn’t anybody on this side of the table that was cross-examining FBI agents for a living before they got to Congress. Some of us aren’t Johnny-come-latelys to appreciating and respecting the work of law enforcement, and it sure as hell wasn’t any Republicans that asked for Jim Comey to be prosecuted for a Hatch Act violation about this time last year. So we are free to disagree over whether or not this is a productive use of your time and whether or not these are areas in which Congress ought to be inquiring. I happen to think the Department of Justice and the FBI are big enough to withstand even tough questions and their work can withstand scrutiny. I have said from day one difficult fact patterns make for tough conclusions, but that doesn’t mean the conclusions should not be analyzed. So I just want the record to be really, really clear: Not a single damn one of us made a living cross-examining FBI agents before we got to Congress. Some of the folks who are now in love with the FBI did.
P 158 Rep. Jordan catches McCabe and Rosenstein in a lie regarding Peter Strzok –
Mr. Jordan. Mr. McCabe, I didn’t plan to bring it up. The minority party raised it. You indicated you fired him. We saw — it rang a bell with us that that was contrary to what Mr. Rosenstein testified to just last week. That’s why I’m bringing it up. And it seems to me if you’re making a decision on the back end to kick someone off because of what’s been reported as political bias, even though you’ve indicated that political opinions don’t affect work product, I kind of want to know what happened on the front end, and who decided he was going to be on the team in the first place?
P 161 Ratcliffe notes guy who bleachbit Hillary’s server was given immunity
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. And he was the Platte River Network. He was the one that used BleachBit, and was the one that former Director Comey testified lied to the FBI before getting the immunity agreement. Do you remember any discussion about that?
Mr. McCabe. Generally.
Mr. Ratcliffe. And that would be unusual.
Mr. McCabe. I don’t think that would be unusual.
Mr. Ratcliffe. It wouldn’t be unusual for someone to lie to the FBI, and get an immunity agreement?
Mr. McCabe. No.
Mr. Ratcliffe. Okay. The reason it seemed unusual, as you know, recently folks that have lied to the FBI have gotten 18 U.S.C. 1001 charges brought against them. That’s what we would bring when I was at the Justice Department. I don’t ever recall rewarding someone for lying to the FBI with an immunity agreement. But you’re saying that’s not unusual?
P 188 Meadows gets McCabe to admit he may have been involved in changing Comey’s memo on Hillary being grossly negligent after denying being in on it –
Mr. Meadows. But you said you didn’t talk to him about the change from —
Mr. McCabe. I didn’t say I didn’t talk to him about it. I said I don’t remember talking to him about it. I don’t have a specific recollection of the Director and I discussing the difference between “grossly negligent” —
P 193 Meadows gets McCabe to admit finally after denying any knowledge, the Comey and Lynch did talk before Comey’s infamous Hillary email presser –
Mr. Meadows. And you are not sure whether Director Comey briefed the Attorney General prior to a press conference.
Mr. McCabe. I do not — no. Hold on just a second.
Director Comey did have contact with the Department prior to the press conference, immediately prior, within an hour before the press conference took place. I don’t know if Attorney General Lynch received a briefing of the results of the Clinton interview.
Mr. Meadows. All right. Fair enough.