At the same time President Donald Trump is getting chastised by Attorney General William Barr for weighing in on the Roger Stone case, the Justice Department announced on Friday it will not bring criminal charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
It sure feels like the DOJ is taking care of its own, while people like Stone, who had any relationship to the Trump campaign, face or have done jail time.
Remember, it wasn’t just Stone. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors dredged up years-old tax issues for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and placed him in solitary confinement to try to make him sing against the president regarding the Russia hoax.
Then there was former Trump campaign consultant and national security adviser Michael Flynn, whom prosecutors bankrupted and ultimately forced a guilty plea out of for allegedly making a false statement to FBI agents.
Flynn is looking into withdrawing his guilty plea.
And of course, there’s George Papadopoulos, from whom Mueller’s henchmen wrung another guilty plea, claiming he made a false statement.
Mind you, none of these crimes had anything to do with the underlying reason the Mueller probe was launched: to determine whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.
That collusion narrative was shown to be make-believe.
Enter Andrew McCabe.
DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz concluded in a report released publicly in April 2018 that McCabe lied repeatedly when questioned about leaking information to the media regarding the DOJ’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation.
McCabe “lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure to [The Wall Street Journal]” in violation of FBI policy, and that his “disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct,” the report read.
In March 2018, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe two days before he was slated to retire based on the OIG’s findings that he had not been honest with investigators.
But McCabe will face no criminal prosecution.
“We learned this morning through a phone call from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office that was followed by a letter that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Andrew McCabe has been closed,” attorneys Michael Bromwich and David Schertler said in the statement, CNBC reported.
“This means that no charges will be brought against him based on the facts underlying the Office of the Inspector General’s April 2018 report.”
So much for equal justice under the law.
You will recall that McCabe first came under scrutiny following the release by the inspector general in December 2017 of text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.
In the texts, Strzok described Trump during the 2016 campaign as a “loathsome human” and an “idiot,” and found the prospect of him being president “terrifying.”
Page, who was having an affair with Strzok, texted him, “There is no way [Trump] gets elected.”
Strzok then replied, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office … that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.
“It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
“Andy” referred to McCabe.
The “insurance policy” was the FBI’s Russia investigation, Page “essentially confirmed” while testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in July 2018, according to Fox News.
Trump insisted on Friday that he has every right to weigh in on Stone’s case or other matters before the DOJ.
The chief executive tweeted a quote from an interview Barr gave to ABC News on Thursday.
“’The president has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.’ AG Barr,” Trump wrote.
“The President has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.” A.G. Barr This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as President, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 14, 2020
“This doesn’t mean that I do not have, as president, the legal right to do so, I do, but I have so far chosen not to!” he added.
Trump rightly believes Stone is getting a raw deal.
On Wednesday, the president told reporters he had not communicated directly with Barr regarding the case but felt Stone “was treated horribly,” adding the original nine-year sentence recommendation by the DOJ prosecutors was a “disgrace.”
The Mueller investigation was a “scam” Trump said. “What’s happening to McCabe? What’s happening to Lisa [Page] and Peter Strzok?”
Stone was convicted in November of lying to Congress and witness tampering in a criminal case stemming from the Mueller probe.
Following the verdict, Trump tweeted, “So they now convict Roger Stone of lying and want to jail him for many years to come. Well, what about Crooked Hillary, Comey, Strzok, Page, McCabe, Brennan, Clapper, Shifty Schiff, Ohr & Nellie, Steele & all of the others, including even Mueller himself? Didn’t they lie?”
….A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
“A double standard like never seen before in the history of our Country?” he added.
The DOJ pulled the nine-year sentencing recommendation following Trump’s public comments, leaving the matter completely in the judge’s hands.
Barr insisted during his ABC News interview that Trump’s views had nothing to do with his department’s decision to withdraw the prosecutors’ proposed sentencing.
“I’m not going to be bullied or influenced by anybody … whether it’s Congress, a newspaper editorial board, or the president,” Barr said.
That is the right answer; however, Trump should not have to sit by and watch an injustice being perpetrated.
While Trump associates have been prosecuted by the DOJ largely for process or unrelated crimes, all on the so-called “deep state” side, like McCabe and Strzok, continue to get a free pass.
One can only hope U.S. attorney John Durham’s investigation tilts the scales back toward justice.
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