Why does McCabe need immunity to testify before Congress?
Timing is everything in life. House speaker Paul Ryan has decided to back Representative Trey Gowdy’s (foolish) suggestion that there was nothing irregular about the FBI’s use of an informant to investigate the Trump campaign. Ironically, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director who was deeply involved in that investigation, picked the same time to make it known that he will notApparently, his lawyer thinks he cannot testify with "candor" without endangering his case. It is probably good advice. But it does seem to confirm that the FBI investigation he was involved in was 'irregular,' at a minimum. I strongly disagree with Gowdy and Ryan about this irregular investigation which has the qualities of a coup attempt against the President which started long before his election and even before they acknowledged they had opened a counterintelligence operation of his campaign based on little to no evidence of wrongdoing. I get the impression from those responsible that it was done out of animous toward Trump and his policies.
testify before Congress unless he is granted immunity from prosecution.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, to which McCabe’s lawyer made the request, should tell him “No thanks.” McCabe should be reminded that he is free to assert the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if he believes truthful answers would put him in jeopardy, but there should be no immunity.
Besides the Russia probe, McCabe oversaw the Clinton-emails investigation after being appointed deputy director in February 2016. As the bureau’s No. 2 official, he had very broad supervisory responsibility over investigations nationally and globally. But his oversight of the Clinton case was much closer than usual for a deputy director, because the FBI took the highly unusual step of running the investigation out of headquarters. The FBI generally avoids doing that for a variety of prudent reasons, not least that its field offices across the country are removed from Washington’s intense political environment.
Of course, that is just one of countless ways in which the Clinton investigation was given highly unusual treatment.
As we discussed back in April, McCabe has been referred by the inspector general to the Justice Department and FBI for consideration of whether to prosecute him for making false statements to investigators. The false statements occurred during a probe of McCabe’s leaking of sensitive investigative information to the media. Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s 35-page report recounts that McCabe gave misleading answers on four occasions when questioned about the leak; falsely claimed that his boss, then-director James Comey, knew about and approved McCabe’s leak; and, to give himself cover, shamelessly chewed out the heads of the New York and Washington field offices over the leak that McCabe himself had orchestrated.
McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, now maintains that, because of the criminal referral, McCabe needs immunity if he is to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the Clinton-emails case. This is a stark change of position for McCabe.
Shortly before the publication of the IG’s report on his alleged false statements about his leak, McCabe penned an op-ed in the Washington Post. In it, he flatly denied the accusation of “lack of candor” — the label the FBI gives to agent misconduct that involves violating the duty of honesty, particularly in dealings with the bureau. McCabe asserted:I did not knowingly mislead or lie to investigators. When asked about contacts with a reporter that were fully within my power to authorize as deputy director, and amid the chaos that surrounded me, I answered questions as completely and accurately as I could. And when I realized that some of my answers were not fully accurate or may have been misunderstood, I took the initiative to correct them. At worst, I was not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted.If McCabe was being candid with the Post’s readers, then it is hard to understand how he can now represent that truthful answers to the Judiciary Committee’s questions could incriminate him. More likely, McCabe is trying to make himself non-prosecutable.