We had word yesterday that Andrew McCabe’s exit from his post at the FBI was prompted by something FBI Director Christopher Wray saw in a forthcoming DOJ Inspector General’s report. Today the Washington Post reports the DOJ IG has been focused on a period of three weeks in the fall of 2016. That’s when FBI agents in New York, who were looking into Anthony Weiner’s sexting habits, discovered his laptop held a batch of Hillary Clinton’s work-related emails. FBI headquarters was notified and, according to some, that’s when everything seemed to grind to a halt for several weeks on McCabe’s desk:
The New York FBI office alerted FBI headquarters to the new email issue within days — accounts differ as to when precisely, but McCabe was aware of the matter by late September or early October at the latest, according to the people familiar with the matter. The agents on the Weiner case wanted to talk to the Clinton email investigators and see whether the messages were potentially important…
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.
Whatever logjam formed in McCabe’s office finally broke after the Wall Street Journal reported, on Oct. 24, 3016, that McCabe’s wife had received substantial donations from Clinton-ally Terry McAuliffe, the Governor of Virginia. It was less than a week later that Director Comey decided to inform Congress that the FBI was looking into the emails on Weiner’s laptop. Clinton supporters (and Clinton herself) have long blamed that announcement for costing her the 2016 election. But the Post story says there was more than one Clinton investigation which stalled in McCabe’s office:
At the same time, the FBI was facing a new set of questions, this time about McCabe’s role in a stalled probe into the Clinton Foundation. Some within the FBI felt McCabe had repeatedly moved to hamstring that probe and were suspicious of his motives for doing so, according to people familiar with the matter.
McCabe’s defenders inside federal law enforcement have repeatedly said he tried to navigate a sensitive political investigation between Justice Department officials who thought the probe was going nowhere and FBI agents who believed they were being blocked from issuing subpoenas and taking other steps that could uncover critical evidence.
It’s interesting that unnamed DOJ officials thought the investigation was going nowhere. Is that a possible reference to Loretta Lynch who also told Director Comey to downplay the FBI’s investigation into Hillary’s email server by calling it “a matter”? It begins to appear as if the DOJ was acting as a drag on more than one Clinton investigation. More importantly, it seems as if McCabe himself was responsible for slow-walking these investigations.
All of this has the Strzok-Page text messages as a backdrop. A few months ago, it probably would have been assumed by most Americans that top FBI officials were above bringing their personal political opinions to work. But the Strzok-Page texts strongly suggest that’s not always the case. So the possibility that McCabe was taking note that certain investigations were bad for team Hillary doesn’t seem quite as far-fetched as it once would have.
You have to wonder if, by delaying this for several weeks, McCabe actually made the impact of Comey’s announcement worse. If the same thing had come out sooner, there would have been more time for Team Clinton to recover.
Again, the IG report won’t be released for several more months, but the fact that McCabe was asked to leave after Director Wray saw the IG report suggests the conclusions of the report are not very favorable to him.