Tuesday, January 23, 2018


Axios's Jonathan Swan reports that the President wants his FBI director to fire Andrew McCabe:
Attorney General Jeff Sessions — at the public urging of President Donald Trump — has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray threatened to resign if McCabe was removed, according to three sources with direct knowledge.
This is part of a long campaign to target and demonize McCabe:
Trump and other Republicans have been hammering McCabe — who was selected by the White House as acting director after the Comey firing — for months on Twitter.

On July 26, Trump tweeted: "Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got...big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!"
The president simplifies what happened in that Virginia legislative campaign -- but the story is often simplified even by Trump-skeptical reporters. Here's New York magazine's Margaret Hartmann:
[Trump's] issues with McCabe can be traced back to a Wall Street Journal report that ran shortly before the 2016 election. The paper revealed that in 2015, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe recruited McCabe’s wife to run for a state Senate seat. McAuliffe’s political action committee poured nearly half a million dollars into the race, but she lost. Months later McCabe was promoted to deputy director of the FBI, which meant he helped oversee the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails. So where’s the scandal? McAuliffe, like many Democratic officials, has close ties to the Clintons.
Hartmann (correctly) treats this as a non-scandal, but you might come away from her account believing that Jill McCabe received an unusually large amount of money from McAuliffe and his PAC. She didn't. The PAC, Common Good VA, gave more money to two other candidates for the state senate than it did to McCabe -- and the big outlays made sense, because Democrats were trying to regain control of the senate.

As The Washington Post's Gregory Schneider noted shortly after the Wall Street Journal story appeared:
McAuliffe’s PAC, Common Good VA, was spreading money to many candidates, as was the state Democratic Party. McCabe was not the top beneficiary; Common Good VA gave $792,000 to state Senate candidate Jeremy McPike and $770,000 to Dan Gecker, as well as lesser amounts to a host of other office-seekers.
Schneider's numbers are actually a little low. According to the Virginia Public Access Project, McPike received $803,500 from Common Good VA and Gecker received $781,500. (McCabe received $467,500.)

In reference to McCabe, Trump rounds up the total to $700,000 because she also received $207,788 from the Democratic Party of Virginia. (A Democratic candidate for the Virginia Senate received money from the Democratic Party of Virginia! Imagine!) But Gecker received slightly more than that from the state party -- $214,456. And McPike received a lot more from the party -- $535,162.

All this may be moot soon -- Andrew McCabe is said to be on the verge of retiring from the FBI, although Axios notes today that " senior Justice officials are still not sure what McCabe plans to do."

In any case, Jill McCabe didn't receive special treatment from a Clinton friend's PAC, no matter what the president or your right-wing uncle tells you.

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