Why McCabe’s response to his pink slip just made life tough for Comey and could finally end Mueller probe

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe wasted little time declaring that he was a victim after being fired late Friday, claiming that he was “singled out. He pointed to an “unrelenting assault” on his reputation, to include tweets from President Trump that have “exacerbated it all.”

But in building a case for himself, McCabe just made life a lot tough for former FBI director James Comey and Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

At least, that’s according to Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University Law School.

In an op-ed run Saturday by The Hill, Turley pointed to a line in McCabe’s statement criticizing his termination “that could be viewed as incriminating fired FBI director James Comey, not just in leaking sensitive information but also in lying to Congress.”

SG Jonathan Turley
Screengrab Jonathan Turley


McCabe commented on leaking information to a former Wall Street Journal reporter about the investigation of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, saying he was authorized to “share” the information and did so with the knowledge of “the director,” which would have been Comey at the time.

Turley explained why this is “problematic”:

If the “interaction” means leaking the information, then McCabe’s statement would seem to directly contradict statements Comey made in a May 2017 congressional hearing. Asked if he had “ever been an anonymous source in news reports about matters relating to the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation” or whether he had “ever authorized someone else at the FBI to be an anonymous source in news reports about the Trump investigation or the Clinton investigation,” Comey replied “never” and “no.”


As Turley noted, Comey “already faces serious questions over his use of a Columbia University Law School professor to leak information to the media following his own termination as director.”

“If this was determined to be a leak with his approval, Comey likely would be labeled not just a leaker but a liar,” the law professor added. “Worse, his second-in-command just lost his pension after more than 20 years with the bureau, while Comey is about to cash in on a book and publicity tour potentially worth millions.”

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (2nd L) (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

He also explained why the McCabe controversy could make life tougher for Mueller.

“While McCabe lashed out at Trump in his statement,” Turley said, “he may have just given Trump the long-sought cover to use his pardon power; if McCabe is not charged, Trump could cite that decision as the basis for pardoning Flynn, as a matter of equity and fairness.”

Even worse, the controversy could give Trump the basis to end Mueller’s probe.

Pointing to the “apparent conduct of both McCabe and Comey” Turley suggested that this has “fulfilled the narrative long advanced by Trump of a biased, unprincipled FBI investigation.”

“Given Trump’s ill-advised inclination to fire Mueller in the past, these allegations of leaks and misrepresentations inside the FBI could rekindle Trump’s interest in forcing an end to the investigation that has dogged his administration for a year,” he opined.

Tom Tillison


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