By Jon Dougherty
CBS News’ “60 Minutes” is set to air the complete interview on Sunday featuring correspondent Scott Pelley and former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. But what we already know is pretty damning.
Because he was allegedly “concerned” that the president was acting on behalf of Russia, McCabe said after those discussions he ordered an “obstruction of justice” and “counterintelligence” probe into a sitting president, who was his real boss as head of the Executive Branch.
That alone is unprecedented in American history. But it gets worse.
McCabe has also admitted that he was involved in “discussions” with the Justice Department to “remove” our duly-elected president under terms outlined in the 25th Amendment after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey over his pathetic handling of the Hillary Clinton classified email probe.
And this is where we get to the nub of McCabe’s sedition. Those discussions involved current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who, McCabe claims, ‘repeatedly’ offered to “wear a wire” with the objective of catching POTUS Trump saying something so injurious to his credibility that the schemers could then convince a majority of his Cabinet to support removing him for ‘mental unfitness’ under the Constitution.
In a bombshell story, The New York Times reported in September:
The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.
Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.
Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.
Rosenstein vehemently denied the accusations then, and he — through Justice Department spokespeople — denied them again this past week.
But given the timing of events over the past couple of years, there is plenty of reason to suspect that McCabe, for once, is telling the truth and that Rosenstein ought to be the first official newly-minted Attorney General William Barr fires — before he launches an investigation into their sedition that, we hope, will end with prosecutions and jail time.
— POTUS fired James Comey, largely on Rosenstein’s recommendation, for botching (intentionally we would later learn) the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s obvious criminal abuse of classified emails around May 9, 2017.
— A week later, Rosenstein appoints former FBI director and longtime establishment figure Robert Mueller as a special counsel, ostensibly to look into alleged “Russian collusion” with the 2016 Trump campaign. Reports at the time claim that the appointment was “to oversee the investigation into ties between President Trump’s campaign and Russian officials,” The New York Times reported.
Of course, we now know that there wasn’t any collusion, though we’ve known for more than a year there wasn’t after the House Intelligence Committee said so (the Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed last week).
— In October, a month after the Times bombshell, news broke that the FBI’s former top lawyer, James Baker, testified to a congressional committee Rosenstein was actually serious when he suggested wearing a wire to entrap the president.
Fox News reported:
Former FBI General Counsel James A. Baker told congressional investigators during a closed-door deposition last week that then-FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe and FBI lawyer Lisa Page came to Baker “contemporaneously” after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. Baker said Page and McCabe relayed details of the meeting where Rosenstein made the comments.
Though he wasn’t personally in that meeting, Baker told congressional investigators he took McCabe and Page’s account “seriously,” the sources said. Further, Baker told congressional investigators he suspected “Rosenstein was coordinating with two people in the administration to invoke the 25th Amendment,” a source said.
While the coup attempted never materialized, the Times reported that Rosenstein told McCabe he thought it would be possible to flip then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions and then-Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, who had been promoted to chief of staff, to invoke the 25th Amendment.
— All of which helps explain why McCabe, who had himself been fired, appeared rattled when reports surfaced a few days after the Times’ September report that Rosenstein was going to meet with POTUS at the White House. His big concern? Protecting Mueller.
“There is nothing more important to the integrity of law enforcement and the rule of law than protecting the investigation of Special Counsel Mueller. If the rumors of Deputy AG’s Rosenstein’s departure are true, I am deeply concerned it puts that investigation at risk,” he said in a statement.
In June, we reported that the Justice Department’s Inspector General’s office sent a criminal referral regarding McCabe to the U.S. Attorney in the D.C. district. A grand jury was empaneled to hear — among other charges — allegations against the disgraced former FBI deputy director.
So far, nothing has come of those latter developments. Perhaps now is the time, as Barr settles into his old/new role.
What seems clear, however, is that McCabe and Rosenstein were both front-and-center in the middle of a scheme to stage a coup against a duly elected president and for no reason other than they simply do not believe POTUS Trump has a ‘right’ to be sitting in the White House instead of Hillary Clinton.
The timeline of events supports this contention.
- Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10
Never miss a story! Sign up for our daily email newsletter — Click here!