THE “EVIDENCE IS IN PLAIN SIGHT”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Feb. 20, 2019) — In an interview Tuesday with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie, former Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe said that in 2017, he and “members of his team” made a decision to open an “obstruction of justice” investigation into Donald Trump stemming from what McCabe said was “an articulable basis to believe that a threat to national security or a federal crime may have occurred” on the part of the President of the United States.
The possibility, McCabe told Guthrie, of a sitting president posing a “national security threat” stemmed from his perception that Trump “had gone to extreme measures to potentially negatively impact, possibly turn off, our investigation of Russian meddling into the election and Russian coordination with his campaign.”
Since Sunday night, when an initial McCabe interview was aired on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” the former FBI official has been on a media blitz in an effort to sell his new book, “The Threat.”
McMcCabe was fired in March, just before his planned retirement, and since been referred by the Justice Department to the U.S. Attorney for Washington, DC for possible criminal investigation for allegedly lying during the DOJ Inspector General’s investigation of the FBI and DOJ’s conduct during the 2016 presidential election cycle. McCabe is specifically accused of having lied about the release of agency information to the press, a claim he denies.
A grand jury has been convened to study evidence in the McCabe case, The Washington Post reported in September.
“What were the predicate facts?…that the president may be a national security threat and may in fact be working on behalf of a foreign adversary, Russia?” Guthrie asked McCabe early in the interview.
McCabe responded that he and his team “looked at the facts” before deciding to launch the investigation. As an example of those “facts,” McCabe said that Trump was “publicly undermining the investigative efforts” of the FBI. “He’s talking about it as a witch hunt; he’s talking about it as a hoax,” McCabe said. He also faulted Trump for having reportedly “asked” former FBI Director James Comey to “turn off the investigation” into Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
“Why would any president of the United States not want the FBI to get to the bottom of Russian interference in the election?” McCabe asked Guthrie rhetorically.
McCabe did not mention that it has been reported that Trump also expressed a desire, during a private meeting with Comey just after Trump took office, to have the FBI discover who, if anyone, on his campaign committed a crime or engaged in other misconduct. He repeated that sentiment in an interview with Lester Holt shortly after Comey’s termination.
Trump also told Holt, “If Russia did anything, I want to know that.”
In recent days, some have suggested that McCabe opened the “obstruction of justice” investigation on Trump as a retaliatory move after Trump fired Comey. “Disgraced former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has now admitted in his new book that he ordered obstruction of justice and counterintelligence investigations of President Trump in retaliation for Trump’s firing of FBI Director and McCabe friend James Comey,” Fox News reported on Friday.
Comey’s firing came on May 9, 2017, after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a memo recommending it, maintaining that Comey had mishandled the investigation into 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as Secretary of State between 2009 and 2013.
On July 5, 2016, Comey gave a solo press conference in which he announced that the FBI would not recommend that the Justice Department pursue a criminal investigation against Clinton for sending classified information over the unauthorized server. Although listing a litany of wrongdoing on Clinton’s part, Comey nevertheless declared that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
Comey and McCabe are not the only high-ranking FBI and Justice Department officials to be terminated since Trump took office. As of August of last year, The Epoch Times reported that 25 officials of both agencies were “fired, demoted or resigned.”
McCabe claimed to Guthrie and others that Rosenstein was “deadly serious” when he allegedly offered to “wear a wire,” as was reported by The New York Times in September, in private meetings with Trump in order to gather evidence showing that Trump was unfit for office and might be removed under the provisions of the 25th Amendment. Rosenstein’s office has denied that claim.
In an appearance Tuesday on ABC’s “The View,” McCabe denied having been The Times‘s source for the article, whose claims Rosenstein denied.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham has since said he intends to subpoena both Rosenstein and McCabe to testify about their actions in 2016 and 2017. On Friday, Fox News first announced that Rosenstein plans to leave his post in mid-March, which quickly followed the swearing-in of Attorney General William P. Barr.
Approximately two weeks ago, chairman of the the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr announced that after nearly two years of investigative work, the committee has found no evidence that anyone in the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia to win the election, one of the bases for Rosenstein’s hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to assume the role of Special Counsel and continue the FBI’s probe following Comey’s dismissal.
Likewise, last spring, then-chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes said his Republican colleagues had found no evidence of Trump-Russia collusion. However, current committee chairman Adam Schiff has said that committee Democrats will not only continue, but also “expand” the Trump-Russia investigation.
Schiff claims that there is “evidence in plain sight” that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia in 2016.
According to multiple news reports, Trump and his campaign came under investigation on July 31, 2016, although the actual launch of the “Russia” probe may have occurred months before. The Hill‘s John Solomon has regularly reported revelations from the probe demonstrating that not only was a “dossier” provided to the FBI by former British intelligence agent and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele, but also the wife of the fourth-highest-ranking DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, provided a “memory stick” with additional and related information which Ohr passed on to the FBI, according to his sworn congressional testimony last summer.
Altogether, Solomon reported on Wednesday, there were five different versions of the “dossier” funneled to the FBI in unorthodox ways. Thus far, none of the dossier material has been verified.
Perkins Coie partner Michael Sussman was one of the sources of alleged investigative material who provided information on Trump to the FBI.
Moreover, the original “dossier” was paid for by the 2016 Clinton campaign and DNC with funds channeled through Perkins Coie to Fusion GPS, who contracted with Steele and hired Nellie Ohr to conduct opposition research on Trump.
Perkins Coie has long represented the DNC and Democratic causes.
The cost of the Mueller investigation alone is said to exceed $25 million.
In contrast, evidence gathered over a 5+-year criminal investigation into the “long-form” birth certificate image posted on the White House website on April 27, 2011 was never taken up by the FBI, even after two forensic analysts were reported to have issued opinions agreeing that the image, said to represent Barack Hussein Obama’s original birth certificate from Hawaii, is a “computer-generated forgery.”
The Perkins Coie law firm was deeply involved in the release of the long-form image, with former partner Robert Bauer, then-White House counsel but soon to return to the firm, telling reporters in an advance, closed-door meeting that the image was about to be made public.
Despite having witnessed the law firm’s involvement in disseminating Trump-Russia “dirt,” the FBI appears not to have made the connection between Perkins Coie and the “computer-generated forgery.”
A close observer and confidant of the investigation, launched by then-Maricopa County Sheriff Joseph Arpaio in August 2011, has said that Mueller’s investigation has a nexus with the Obama long-form birth certificate. “A lot of what Mueller is doing and what the Deep State’s doing and their desire to get Trump out of office goes to the foundation of the fake birth certificate,” Gallups told radio host Bill Martinez in December.
Neither Comey, McCabe nor anyone at the FBI has ever issued a statement about the forgery of a document belonging to the then-sitting President of the United States who was credibly reported, before and after his first presidential run, to have been born outside of the country, which would have placed his eligibility in question.
The lead detective of the five-year investigation, Mike Zullo, declared last August that two U.S. intelligence sources told him that it is “an open secret” in Washington, DC that Obama was born outside of the United States and therefore could not meet the U.S. Constitution’s Article II, Section 1, clause 5 requirement that the president and commander-in-chief be a “natural born Citizen.” Zullo has also said, “There is no original certificate; there never was.”
Perhaps ironically, Guthrie is the sole reporter to have claimed that on April 27, 2011, she “felt the raised seal” on the copy of the Obama long-form she purportedly received. Photos she reportedly took of the seal and posted on social media are no longer available.
Zullo has said, however, that a reporter in the off-the-record session with Bauer correctly noted that no “original” birth certificate was shown to reporters.
Early in the investigation, Zullo revealed that not only was the long-form image found to be fraudulent, but also Obama’s purported Selective Service registration form, an issue which then-Selective Service System Director Lawrence Romo suggested be presented to the FBI if Arpaio believed a crime had been committed.
On July 18, 2012, an FBI spokesman told this reporter that he watched the entirety of Zullo and Arpaio’s second press conference the day before, during which Arpaio implored Congress and the FBI to open an investigation into what he saw as a “national security” issue given the falsification of a sitting president’s official government documents.
Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.