February 21, 2019

Andrew McCabe

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On Sunday, former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe was interviewed on 60 minutes about his forthcoming book. During the interview, he stated that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “was discussing ‘counting votes or possible votes’ to invoke the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, which allows Cabinet members to seek the removal of a president if they conclude that he or she is mentally unfit.”
CBS, AP News

See past issues

From the Left

The left pushes back on the narrative that exercising the 25th amendment would constitute a coup, and criticizes Republicans for hypocrisy regarding the ongoing investigations.

“First of all, removing a president from office using systems included in the Constitution is, by definition, not a coup. Removing Trump from office by following the guidelines of the 25th Amendment would no more be a coup than removing him from office through impeachment or, really, than voting for another candidate in 2020. It’s part of the system.”
Philip Bump, Washington Post

“Pondering the use of a duly approved amendment to the Constitution to accomplish a critical objective — sounds downright patriotic.”
Erik Wemple, Washington Post

Many note that “if McCabe’s version of events is correct, top congressional lawmakers were told nearly two years ago that the FBI was concerned about whether the American president had been compromised by a foreign adversary and become a possible threat to our national security. These congressional leaders – four Democrats and four Republicans – could’ve objected at the time. They chose not to. And yet, at the time and in the months that followed… Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and Devin Nunes, defended Trump, pushed his agenda as their own, and in some instances, even endorsed the president’s attacks on federal law enforcement.”
Steve Benen, MaddowBlog

“McCabe’s revelation suggests the objections that [Rep. Devin] Nunes in particular has raised to the ongoing FBI investigation of Trump and his campaign may have more to do with politics than the merits of the case. At the very least, Nunes was apparently aware that the FBI had opened a counterintelligence investigation into the president, and still worked hand in hand with the White House to push a conspiracy theory that the FBI and intelligence agencies were compromised by anti-Trump bias.”
Aaron Rupar, Vox

“In order to remove Trump from office using the 25th Amendment, you would need the support of a loyal Vice President, eight Cabinet members appointed by Trump, and about two out of every five Republicans in the House and Senate… If Mr. McCabe is to be believed, the biggest surprise to come out of the ‘60 Minutes’ interview was that both the deputy attorney general and acting director of the FBI were seemingly unaware that what they were discussing was utter fantasy.”
Paul Sracic, CNN

McCabe expressed his willingness to testify before Congress, stating, “I will cooperate with the committee in whatever way I can… But I will say this: If all they are interested in is Rod Rosenstein's mention of the 25th Amendment or Rod Rosenstein's offer to wear a wire — if that's all they're interested in — it will be a very short and uneventful hearing…

“I invite the committee, or any other committee on the Hill, to look beyond that, to ask themselves why is it two of the highest ranking officials in the Department of Justice and the FBI in May of 2017 had to even consider the fact that the president of the United States might pose a national security risk to this country. I think that would be a much broader hearing and a much more interesting and important one.”
Andrew McCabe, NPR

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right condemns McCabe and sees his statements as evidence that the investigation against Trump was politically motivated.

From the Right

The right condemns McCabe and sees his statements as evidence that the investigation against Trump was politically motivated.

McCabe’s story keeps changing as he retells it, and more specifically as he gets challenged in these media interviews.” On Sunday, McCabe stated that his discussion with Rosenstein included “counting votes or possible votes,” but on Wednesday, he claimed that he was “not… aware” if Rosenstein was counting votes. “It’s not too tough to see why an Inspector General appointed by Barack Obama found that McCabe ‘lacked candor’ when being grilled by professionals at the FBI.”
Ed Morrissey, Hot Air

“He described having conversations with Deputy Attorney General [Rod] Rosenstein concerning Trump’s alleged obstruction of justice. But it was Rosenstein who wrote the detailed memo setting forth the reasons for Comey’s firing.”
Tom Baker, Daily Caller

“McCabe obliquely said Trump wanted Rosenstein ‘to put Russia in’ the memo about Comey… The viewer was thus left to conclude, from McCabe’s other comments, that Trump must have fired the FBI director because he was fearful of the Bureau’s investigation of Russia’s interference in the election…

“[But] we know that what Trump wanted made public was something very specific about Russia, namely, that Comey repeatedly told the president he was not a suspect in the Russia investigation. Trump was frustrated — over time, ballistic — over the fact that Comey was privately telling him that he was not under investigation, yet making statements that would lead the public to believe Trump was suspected of conspiring in Russia’s hacking operations.”
Andrew McCarthy, National Review

“I don’t believe Andy McCabe, especially since the most prominent targets in his book are Trump, Sessions, and Rosenstein; three men who had a direct impact on the termination of his FBI career. What I do believe is that a president who currently lives under an impeachment sword of Damocles appears to have been injudiciously targeted by a small group of supposedly apolitical public servants who panicked during a time of gravity-defying populism and ignored time-tested processes, protocols, and prohibitions.”
James Gagliano, Washington Examiner

Congress needs to “ask how the FBI came to see itself as the arbiter of what is in the national security interest of the U.S… No one elected Andrew McCabe, James Comey or anyone else at the FBI to lead the country. They work for the man who was elected in 2016. Even as they investigate the election, they need to remember that.”
Eli Lake, Bloomberg

“Anyone who believes that [the 25th amendment] was a remotely plausible or appropriate means to depose Donald Trump should have his own ability to discharge his duties examined… Trump obviously was perfectly capable of discharging his duties; he just discharged them in a way alarming to McCabe and Rosenstein…

“What McCabe’s version strongly suggests is that the FBI took upon itself to be a check on the president of the United States. This is not its appointed role in our system. If the president abuses his powers, that’s a matter for Congress to take up, not for executive-branch officials whose panic eclipsed their judgment.”
Rich Lowry, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“Why did Modi pick this moment to do something so radical? Violence in Kashmir had been trending downwards for the last year, after all. The main reason, besides President Donald Trump's alarming offer to mediate a settlement, is that he wanted a distraction from India's mounting economic woes. India's GDP growth dropped from over 8 percent to 5.8 percent over the last year, and it is widely expected to dip further. Just as ominous has been the crash in consumer demand. India's usual problem has been an insufficient supply to meet its voracious appetite for vehicles, cell phones, and other similar goods. But sales figures for all consumer goods have posted a precipitous decline, slamming businesses that are dramatically scaling back investments.”
Shikha Dalmia, Reason

On the bright side...

Philadelphia running group chases down, catches thief.
Runner's World

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