The endless investigations in Washington are about to get a bit more focused. Now that the Justice Department’s inspector general has become involved, the seriousness level will rise and that was displayed on Thursday.
The first such case concerns former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The inspector general has been looking into charges he repeatedly misled investigators. People familiar with the situation are saying the charges are not much of a reach.
The inspector general has already concluded McCabe lied to investigators, and even his own boss, then-FBI Director and now famous tell-all author, Jim Comey. He did so on at least four occasions, three under oath.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office met with McCabe’s legal team in recent weeks. There is now a distinct chance McCabe will be jailed for his alleged conduct. There is even the possibility that Comey could testify against him. However, a referral to federal prosecutors does not necessarily mean McCabe will be charged with a crime.
This may be very confusing to the common person trying to follow this rash of investigations. But one thing is certain; the political aspect is now being replaced with more serious legal professionals.
This latest round began last week when Inspector General Michael Horowitz sent Congress a report on McCabe. It included information about how he inappropriately authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media. The disgraced FBI official then proceeded to repeatedly lie to investigators.
The report contained detailed allegations that McCabe deceived investigators concerning his personal role in approving the disclosure while he continued to criticize others within the FBI for leaking. The entire episode is a shameful embarrassment for the country’s top investigative agency.
The Justice Department has shown they are moving forward with their promise to get to the bottom of the FBI’s corrupt behavior by a handful of its higher-up management. As General Flynn and others have discovered, lying to federal investigators is a crime punishable by up to five years in prison.
The tenaciousness of the overlying investigation was provided when Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe from the FBI last month. It came about just 26 hours before his official retirement. McCabe alleged his termination was politically motivated, but it now appears his motivations were purely political.
He has raised more than a half-million dollars for a legal-defense fund through a GoFundMe page. His excuses for the firing come under a cloud since it was recommended by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility, based on the inspector general’s findings.
But McCabe’s firing has heated up charges that many in Washington are merely out to get President Trump at any cost. This week alone, a group of 11 House Republicans asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, FBI Director Christopher A. Wray, and Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to explore whether McCabe and other Justice Department officials committed any crimes in their handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
For the first time, the target is turning away from Trump and down the path of Hillary Clinton and the campaign she ran in 2016. That includes the probe into Russia interference in the 2016 election and other matters.
Again, the investigations are becoming less political and more bipartisan as the professional legal team takes charge. For example, the referral from the Inspector General to the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office is a very serious matter. The inspector general investigators are nonpartisan lawyers and agents who probe wrongdoing for a living.
That is supposed to be what the FBI is; nonpartisan. But it appears that has not been the case since before Donald Trump won the White House. Ironically, Comey has been stressing all this week the importance of telling the truth and holding accountable those who do not.
They are words that may come back to haunt him. In an appearance Thursday on CNN, Comey said he “could well be a witness” against McCabe, and that he felt “conflicted” about the matter.
That could end up being the understatement of the year if Comey himself is implicated in this complicated investigation regarding lying and corruption. Those being looked at now are people who were under the impression that Hillary Clinton would be president and their actions would never come to the surface.
Comey wrote in his book that, “People must fear the consequences of lying in the justice system or the system can’t work.” The disclosure that McCabe is accused of authorizing happened to occur right around the time Comey announced the FBI was resuming its probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
That was curious timing. The entire scheme of times and events have become convoluted. Could the investigation come down to various FBI officials turning on each other to avoid prison time?
It may have started already. Comey said in an appearance on “The View” this week: “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there are severe consequences in the Justice Department for lying, as there should be throughout the government.”
Will Comey come to regret his pious words? Will his pious words infuriate the people they are directed toward to talk?
Dwight L. Schwab, Jr. is an award-winning national political and foreign affairs columnist and published author. He has spent over 35 years in the publishing industry. His long-running articles include many years at Examiner.com and currently Newsblaze.com. Dwight is an author of two highly acclaimed books, "Redistribution of Common Sense - Selected Commentaries on the Obama Administration 2009-2014" and "The Game Changer - America's Most Stunning Election in History." He is a native of Portland, Oregon, a journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, and a resident of the SF Bay Area. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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