The announcement came today, but the story starts yesterday with the hiring of two former Trump administration officials. When Fox News hired Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a contributor and ABC cast Sean Spicer on Dancing With The Stars, CNN media critic Brian Stelter lectured both networks about credibility:
Wrote this about Spicer and ABC last night, now it applies to Sanders and Fox too: How should ex-White House officials be treated when they spend months misleading the public, then seek positions of fame and privilege?
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) August 22, 2019
Stelter then went on CNN to make that argument on television:
.@brianstelter: Spicer and Sanders new TV jobs "deserve outrage and backlash" because "this administration lies consistently, whether it's Sanders or Spicer or other White House aides."https://t.co/9ml69AKHVC pic.twitter.com/1Zuf5LrliE
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) August 22, 2019
“The Trump White House has a record of misleading the public. All administrations spin. This administration lies consistently, whether it’s Sanders, or Spicer, or other White House aides. And it’s all led from the top by a president who lies even about the weather and the time of day. That, I think, is why this deserves outrage and backlash,” he said.
Acknowledging it is not unusual for former White House staffers to get jobs on television, Stelter added it’s not surprising Sanders has a job at Fox News, but also said, “It should still be surprising that somebody who misled the public and defended a man who calls the press ‘the enemy’ would land these types of jobs.”
Don’t forget for a moment that CNN has featured James Clapper as an analyst for the past two-plus years, despite the fact that he got caught misleading Congress on domestic surveillance. Senate Democrat Ron Wyden at one point wanted Clapper fired over it, if not prosecuted for it. Justin Amash, lately a media darling for renouncing his Republican affiliation, accused Clapper of perjury. All of that was well known before CNN picked him up as a national-security analyst. Did Stelter object then?
If not, then how about now? CNN just hired Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former #2 who got fired after the Inspector General referred him for criminal prosecution for lying to investigators about his leaks to the media:
Some news: CNN announces Andrew McCabe has been signed as a contributor.
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) August 23, 2019
Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who became one of President Donald Trump’s top enemies within his own administration, is joining CNN as a contributor, a network spokesperson said. His first day is Friday.
McCabe spent two decades in the FBI before he was fired in March of 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions just more than 24 hours before his planned retirement.
The CNN gig comes as McCabe is fighting that termination in court. Earlier this month, McCabe filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that his removal was part of a scheme by the president to remove government employees “because they were not politically loyal to him.”
The referral for prosecution didn’t come from Trump; it came from Michael Horowitz. Similarly, the recommendation for termination came not from the White House but from careerists at the Office of Professional Responsibility, who reviewed the IG’s findings and told then-AG to fire McCabe. Here’s specifically what the IG found in his investigation, via Katie Pavlich, emphases hers:
We found that, in a conversation with then-Director Comey shortly after the WSJ article was published, McCabe lacked candor when he told Comey, or made statements that led Comey to believe, that McCabe had not authorized the disclosure and did not know who did. This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.5 (Lack of Candor – No Oath).
We also found that on May 9, 2017, when questioned under oath by FBI agents from INSD, McCabe lacked candor when he told the agents that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and did not know who did. This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).
We further found that on July 28, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview, McCabe lacked candor when he stated: (a) that he was not aware of Special Counsel having been authorized to speak to reporters around October 30 and (b) that, because he was not in Washington, D.C., on October 27 and 28, 2016, he was unable to say where Special Counsel was or what she was doing at that time. This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).
We additionally found that on November 29, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview during which he contradicted his prior statements by acknowledging that he had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ, McCabe lacked candor when he: (a) stated that he told Comey on October 31, 2016, that he had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ; (b) denied telling INSD agents on May 9 that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ about the PADAG call; and (c) asserted that INSD’s questioning of him on May 9 about the October 30 WSJ article occurred at the end of an unrelated meeting when one of the INSD agents pulled him aside and asked him one or two questions about the article. This conduct violated FBI Offense Code 2.6 (Lack of Candor – Under Oath).
That’s quite a collection of national-security analysts that CNN is collecting. And it’s happening while their media analyst is hyperventilating about a competing network hiring former Trump administration officials with track records of allegedly misleading the media. If hypocrisy were ratings, CNN would dominate the field.
Can’t wait to see what Stelter has to say about this … but I suspect we’ll all have to wait a long, long time.
Update: The Hill wins the “conservatives pounce” race, thanks to the normally reliable Joe Concha:
CNN on Friday said it has hired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as a contributor, drawing swift backlash from conservatives. …
CNN’s decision to hire McCabe was met with derision on social media, mostly from conservatives.
Concha’s smart and a good read, but in this case he missed the story entirely. Concha never mentions why conservatives derided the hire — Stelter’s sanctimonious preaching just the day before over Huckabee Sanders and Spicer. Nor does he mention McCabe’s criminal referral for misleading investigators, and while Concha mentions Clapper, he writes nothing about Clapper’s serial dishonesty with Congress. The backlash is about a ridiculous double standard, which Concha never explains.