February 21, 2019

Andrew McCabe

Editor's note: We couldn’t be more proud of one of our teammates, Isaac Rose-Berman, who penned his first op-ed this week in USA Today: “How college students can bridge American divides: 'Study abroad' in Alabama or New York.” Please give it a read, and share far and wide!

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

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) “insisted the president couldn’t possibly have done anything wrong because, in the end, Ukraine got its money without committing to any investigations. This point of view has radical implications for America’s system of justice and overcrowded prisons, if Mr. Jordan in fact truly believes that all inmates convicted of attempted crimes are innocent of wrongdoing… Perhaps the most telling remark was offered by a Republican staff lawyer, Stephen Castor, who suggested that while the president’s behavior may have been highly irregular, ‘it’s not as outlandish as it could be.’ Here’s a tip: When ‘not as outlandish as itcould be’ is your strongest defense, it’s time to rethink your position.”
Editorial Board, New York Times

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

Others note, “I’d hate to be a Democratic member of Congress trying to convince Joe Sixpack that this is a whole new ballgame. The transcript shows Trump being Trump and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky trying to ingratiate himself with the big dog by, for instance, mentioning that he stays at Trump hotels. Trump’s conversation is typically scattershot, wandering all over the field, leaving a reasonable listener puzzled about what the takeaways are supposed to be…

“I think Joe Sixpack’s response is going to be a hearty shrug. After all that has emerged about Trump so far, his approval rating is closely tracking Obama’s approval at the same point in his presidency. To get Mr. Sixpack’s attention you are going to have to do better than this.”
Kyle Smith, National Review

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

“After adding in the ultra-millionaire’s tax and factoring in the other capital taxes Warren wants to levy — on financial transactions, on unrealized capital gains, on corporations — we’d be asking every billionaire to hand over more than two-thirds of their total wealth over a 10-year period. If the government actually managed to collect it, their fortunes would rapidly erode — and so would tax collections. The plan might be a good way to smash wealth, but it’s a terrible way to fund the nation’s health-care system…

“If Warren makes it to the White House, and tries to pass a plan, the Congressional Budget Office will eventually attach more reasonable numbers, with more defensible assumptions, sparking an even more spectacular political blowback than the one that greeted Friday’s announcement. Outside of the progressive Twitterati, there isn’t necessarily an enormous constituency for spending $20.5 trillion to herd every American into a national health insurance program; there would be even less support for spending what Warren’s plan would actually cost.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

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

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