Yeah, I don’t believe it either. How could anyone after the FBI fired him for “lack of candor”? The witness’s credibility has already been impeached.
But rarely do you see an interviewer drive home her suspicions about a guest as bluntly as McCain does here. Meg’s not so much asking him a question as telling him I don’t trust you. Actual quote: “I’m not convinced this isn’t just some kind of PR campaign to stop yourself from getting indicted.” Hoo boy.
McCabe’s theory of his firing, by the way, appears to be that the DOJ’s Inspector General was in the tank for Trump. From his chat with NPR this morning:
INSKEEP: Why would it be biased against you?
MCCABE: I do. Well, I think that’s pretty clear, Steve. I think the president has a long and well-established history of attacking the people who say things he doesn’t like.
INSKEEP: But this was an independent inspector general, right?
MCCABE: It’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be. I don’t believe they were independent or fair in the process of this investigation or in its result.
Michael Horowitz, the IG, isn’t even a Trump appointee. He’s a holdover from Obama’s administration. I can’t recall any comments about his character in the reporting during the IG review process other than “He’s a man of integrity, a pro’s pro.” Even if you wanted to assume the worst about him, that he was eager to curry favor with Trump by criticizing the FBI for how it handled Emailgate and Russiagate and willing to frame Andrew McCabe for a firing offense to do it, you’re left with an obvious question. If Horowitz wanted to impress Trump and was willing to abandon all scruples in the process, why wouldn’t he have faulted Comey for “lack of candor” instead of McCabe? Remember, the case against McCabe depends heavily on Comey’s own recollection of a conversation they had. Comey asked McCabe if he had authorized FBI officials to tell the Wall Street Journal that the New York office was probing the Clinton Foundation. Comey claims McCabe told him no; McCabe insists that he told Comey yes. The IG reviewed their accounts and concluded from other available evidence that McCabe was lying, not Comey.
But Comey is much more prominent an enemy to Trump than McCabe is. Apart from Bob Mueller, there’s no one whom the president would wish more dearly to see professionally humiliated than the man he fired as FBI director. Comey’s cred as a Trump antagonist is so well known, in fact, that even McCabe doesn’t try to claim that Comey was in on the attempt to frame him for “lack of candor.” When he’s asked here why his memory and Comey’s differ, all he can say, meekly, is that he doesn’t know. If Horowitz was out to please Trump by ruining a top DOJ official unfairly, why on earth would he have chosen McCabe instead of Comey?
See what McCain means by “unreliable narrator”?
Whether McCabe’s goal here is to sell books or, as she speculates, to put pressure on the Department not to indict him by screaming, er, “witch hunt!” peremptorily, only McCabe knows. The two motives aren’t mutually exclusive. I do think she inadvertently lets him slide a bit, though, by asking if he ever “leaked” to the New York Times. (I think she means Wall Street Journal, but that’s a detail.) A “leak,” for legal purposes, means classified information, and as McCabe himself points out, he did have authority to share non-classified information with the media. So it may be true that he never “leaked” — but it also may be true that he lied to Comey about the disclosure to the WSJ and “lacked candor” about it afterward.
.@MeghanMcCain to former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe: "Were you ever a leaker to the 'The New York Times'?"
— The View (@TheView) February 19, 2019