CNN’s Chris Cuomo interviewed Rep. Jim Jordan this morning and went after him for going after Andrew McCabe who was fired at the recommendation of FBI investigators.
“McCabe, did he lie? They say yes in the IG report, they made a referral for him to be prosecuted,” Cuomo said. He continued, “But about what did he lie?”
“Same thing Michael Flynn did,” Rep. Jordan replied, referring not to the content of the lie but the nature of the offense (lying to the FBI is a crime).
“I’m not saying what he did, I’m saying what did he lie about,” Cuomo said. “Here’s what I don’t get about you guys. McCabe lied, allegedly…in saying he wanted to go after [Hillary] and his concern that the DOJ wouldn’t. So what are you criticizing that for?” Cuomo continued, adding, “He’s going after exactly what you wanted him too.”
Apparently, if Andrew McCabe was going after the right target, the GOP should be giving him a pass? Rep. Jordan pointed out, again, that lying to the FBI is a crime.
“You guys are so selective in your outrage. You want to go after McCabe. McCabe was trying to push to investigate Clinton, which is what you say you wanted,” Cuomo said.
It’s pretty clear what Chris Cuomo is trying to do here. He’s suggesting that Republicans can’t really believe McCabe was a bad guy because his lie to the FBI was about his interest in going after Hillary, something the GOP would normally support.
Here’s what Cuomo may be missing. Even looking at this through a purely partisan lens, it’s not actually clear that McCabe was genuinely interested in going after Hillary Clinton. Back in January, the Washington Post reported that the IG was looking closely at McCabe’s actions in the final weeks of the 2016 election. The suggestion in that story was that maybe McCabe himself was slow-walking the investigation into Hillary’s email server for several weeks:
McCabe’s defenders in law enforcement say that there was nothing nefarious going on — officials were pursuing a careful process of determining whether the emails might be relevant, and that took time.
Other law enforcement officials, however, have said they are concerned that the issue seemed to die for a period of time at McCabe’s desk, without explanation.
That delay ended right as the Wall Street Journal reported that McCabe’s wife had received money from Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe. That was the attack on McCabe which he sought to rebut by having people from the FBI leak something to the Journal that would put him in a better light, i.e. the leak that got him fired.
In other words, McCabe may have been slow-walking a Hillary investigation and, in the midst of that, was caught with a personal connection to Clinton world. The fact that he tried to defend himself from that charge may show he really wanted to go after Clinton or it may show he was caught red-handed and wanted to defend himself by leaking something that made him sound tougher on Clinton than he actually was. We won’t really know which is the case until the IG released the portion of the report dealing with the 2016 election. At least for now, the way Chris Cuomo is parsing this is not the only possibility. Either way, McCabe lied under oath to the FBI and that ought to be reason enough to criticize him.
Here’s the interview with Rep. Jordan.