Oh my: FBI deputy chief Andrew McCabe headed for the exit?

McCabe has spent the past year popping up in the news for all the wrong reasons. In February 2016 he was promoted to deputy director and assumed oversight of the Hillary Emailgate investigation — after his wife had received nearly $700,000 from Democratic groups for a failed run for Virginia state senate. This past February he got caught talking to then-chief of staff Reince Priebus about an allegedly bogus Russiagate story in the NYT, a no-no since DOJ investigations are supposed to be independent of politics. His latest news cameo was (apparently) in the infamous text in August 2016 from FBI agent Peter Strzok to Lisa Page: “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he [i.e. Trump] gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.” Who’s “Andy”? Almost certainly it’s Andrew McCabe.

What was the “insurance policy” against Trump’s presidency that was discussed in McCabe’s office? McCabe is scheduled to testify about it before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday.

But will he still be a federal employee when he does?

Huh. Do Gowdy and the source know something? If only one of them had mentioned McCabe departing, I’d have assumed he was merely saying what he think *should* happen — McCabe *should* be fired or resign, now that he’s been tainted by suspicions that the Russiagate team has a vendetta against Trump. The fact that there are two GOPers whispering about it, though, makes me think Republicans on the committee have reason to believe something *will* happen. Seems hard to believe POTUS would drop the axe on McCabe, the Strzok text notwithstanding, after all the grief he’s gotten from firing Comey and with Mueller looking at evidence of obstruction of justice. But Republicans would be thrilled by it and Trump might not need to do it himself. Chris Wray, the new director of the FBI, would be well within his rights to conclude that the Bureau’s integrity has been damaged by the reference to McCabe in Strzok’s text and the only way to repair it is to cut him loose. Maybe the word is out on the Hill that Wray and McCabe are already negotiating a “resignation.”

How would McCabe’s termination affect Trump’s feelings about firing Mueller? He’s going to be thinking hard about that next month as the probe drags on into a new year, especially if family members end up targets of the special counsel — which seems more likely by the minute. Wray canning McCabe could placate POTUS by assuring him that the guys who are supposedly most biased against him are all being dealt with. Comey’s gone, now McCabe will be gone, Strzok has been reassigned. No need to fire Mueller!

But who knows? If McCabe gets tossed and Republicans cheer, which they will, maybe it has the opposite effect of convincing Trump there’ll be more public support than he imagines if he cashiers Mueller too. If Republicans enjoyed watching McCabe get fired on “The Apprentice: White House,” wait until they see the season finale guest-starring the special counsel.

By the way, a new poll from Harvard shows a majority of the public now believes Mueller has a conflict of interest in the investigation by dint of his friendship with Comey. That’s fertile political soil for Trump if Mueller ends up pursuing him for obstruction of justice over the Comey firing. Here’s POTUS at the FBI academy today, joking with the crowd and the media attendees that, in all fairness to the press, probably 30 percent of journalists are good people. C’mon, man. Fifteen, tops.

David Strom 6:41 PM on September 26, 2022