Andrew G. McCabe, the former deputy director of the F.B.I., was fired last week.Credit Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
WASHINGTON — Andrew G. McCabe, the former F.B.I. deputy director, was fired late Friday night — on the eve of his retirement. Here’s what we know.
Who Is Andrew McCabe?
Mr. McCabe is a 21-year F.B.I. veteran who joined the bureau out of law school and rose to its No. 2 position in 2016. The deputy director is essentially the F.B.I.’s chief operating officer.
Why Does He Matter?
He oversaw two of the most politically charged cases in F.B.I. history: the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and the investigation of Donald J. Trump’s campaign ties to the Russian government.
Why Was He Fired?
Mr. McCabe was questioned as part of a wide-ranging internal inquiry into the F.B.I.’s handling of the Clinton investigation and other matters. During the internal investigation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said, Mr. McCabe “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.” That is a fireable offense, and Mr. Sessions said that career, apolitical employees at the F.B.I. and Justice Department agreed that Mr. McCabe should be fired.
At issue is whether Mr. McCabe was forthcoming with investigators about what Mr. Sessions said was an “unauthorized disclosure to the news media.”
The historic moments, head-spinning developments and inside-the-White House intrigue.
Was He Leaking Information to Damage Mr. Trump?
Not as far as anyone can tell. The story at the heart of the case was publishedinThe Wall Street Journal in October 2016, just days before the election as the F.B.I. raced to review newly discovered emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server. The Journal revealed a dispute between the F.B.I. and the Justice Department over how to handle a separate Clinton investigation, one into her family’s foundation.
Mr. McCabe authorized an F.B.I. spokesman and lawyer to speak to The Journal to rebut suggestions that he had put the brakes on the investigation. These types of interactions between journalists and government officials — known as “background calls” — are common in all federal agencies and administrations as officials try to correct inaccuracies or provide details and nuance before reporters publish information.
The Journal ultimately reported that while Justice Department officials did not authorize subpoenas, the F.B.I. in fact had pressed ahead with the case — a detail that if anything was damaging to Mrs. Clinton, not Mr. Trump.
Did the White House Fire Mr. McCabe?
No. As a career civil servant, Mr. McCabe is not a political appointee who can be summarily dismissed by the president. But this is where the situation gets complicated. Mr. Trump has repeatedly used his Twitter account to attack Mr. McCabe. Months before the firing, he taunted Mr. McCabe about his pension.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
On the eve of Mr. McCabe’s firing, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, called him a “bad actor.” Taken together, this unusual level of White House commentary created a political backdrop to what should have been an independent government personnel decision. Mr. McCabe’s lawyers seized on that as evidence of improper influence.
“This distortion of the process begins at the very top, with the president’s repeated offensive, drive-by Twitter attacks on Mr. McCabe.” — Michael R. Bromwich, a lawyer for Mr. McCabe
Why Was He Fired So Quickly?
That is one of the big unknowns. F.B.I. disciplinary matters can drag out for extended periods, and it is not uncommon for officials to retire during that process. That did not happen here, and it is not clear why. The workings of the F.B.I.’s disciplinary office are kept confidential.
Mr. McCabe’s lawyers say they were given little time to read and respond to the final report and were still receiving new evidence two days before his firing. Why the rush, they ask, if not to make sure that Mr. McCabe was fired?
“This concerted effort to accelerate the process, in order to beat the ticking clock of his scheduled retirement, violates any sense of decency and basic principles of fairness,” Mr. Bromwich said.
What’s the President’s Beef With Mr. McCabe?
Mr. Trump has seized on the fact that Mr. McCabe’s wife, Jill, ran for a Virginia State Senate seat as a Democrat and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from a political ally of Mrs. Clinton. He says Mr. McCabe never should have been allowed to oversee the Clinton investigation. He says the campaign donations are proof that a pro-Clinton bias within the F.B.I. explains why Mrs. Clinton was never charged.
Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!
Mr. Trump brought up Mr. McCabe’s wife on several occasions, including a face-to-face meeting in which the president called her a “loser.”
Does Mr. Trump’s Criticism Have Merit?
Yes and no. Mr. McCabe did not begin supervising the Clinton investigation until after his wife had lost the race, and records show that he sought ethics and legal advice inside the F.B.I. before deciding not to recuse himself. But some in the F.B.I. believe he should never have been involved because of his wife’s campaign donations.
When he ultimately recused himself, late in the investigation, it only fueled the argument that he should have stepped aside from the beginning.
Mr. Trump’s theory of Mr. McCabe as a pro-Clinton partisan, however, is on far shakier ground. Mr. McCabe has identified himself as a lifelong Republican and did not vote in the 2016 election. The newspaper story that Mr. McCabe authorized F.B.I. officials speak about was not a positive one for Mrs. Clinton.
And, perhaps most importantly, in the months before the election, when the F.B.I. publicly disclosed information about its work on the Clinton investigation, it never revealed the existence and scope of a full-throated investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russia ties.
What Does This Possibly Have to Do with Russia?
Like so much at the F.B.I., Mr. McCabe’s firing has become inextricably entangled in presidential politics and the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
Mr. McCabe was one of only a handful of F.B.I. officials involved in the Russia investigation from the first days. He supervised it at every step and was involved in the decision to seek a wiretap on Carter Page, a former Trump foreign adviser. That wiretap application was approved by senior Justice Department officials, was reapproved by Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department and was signed by a federal judge based on evidence that Mr. Page was a Russian agent. Mr. Trump has declared that wiretap to be improper, however, and points to it as evidence of political surveillance by the F.B.I.
Mr. McCabe also worked alongside the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, who accused Mr. Trump of seeking a loyalty oath and pressing him to end the investigation. Those conversations are now part of an obstruction investigation. Mr. McCabe kept memos on his conversations with Mr. Comey, which could help investigators corroborate Mr. Comey’s account.
Mr. McCabe argues that the Trump administration is trying to discredit him as a potential witness. The real target, Mr. McCabe said, is Mr. Mueller’s investigation. Mr. Trump’s team seemingly gave credence to that argument last weekend when the Daily Beast asked for Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer for a comment on Mr. McCabe’s firing and he responded with a call to end the Mueller investigation.
From a political standpoint, if Mr. Trump discredits Mr. McCabe, he can raise questions about everything Mr. McCabe has touched — including the Russia investigation. Mr. McCabe’s allies have come to his defense.
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you. https://t.co/uKppoDbduj
What we know right now is that Mr. Sessions found repeated examples in which Mr. McCabe “lacked candor.” And career officials — not Trump appointees — recommended dismissal. Mr. Sessions accepted that recommendation.
“The F.B.I. expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Mr. Sessions said.
Mr. McCabe denies being untruthful. He says he answered every question honestly and, when he was misunderstood, he reached out to the investigators to correct the record.
We won’t be able to assess the allegations, or Mr. McCabe’s defense, until the inspector general’s report is released. That is expected sometime this spring. Mr. McCabe has seen it but cannot discuss it until it is public. When it is released, his lawyers say, he has a point-by-point rebuttal to offer. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/19/us/politics/andrew-mccabe-fbi-fi...
Trump's Troubled Cabinet
March 19, 2018
In this March 8, 2018, photo, President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington. Despite grappling with unparalleled staff departures, President Donald Trump painted a rosy picture of a smoothly functioning administration getting things done, pushing along gun restrictions and bringing jobs to the United States. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
From accusations of lavish spending to job insecurity, we got the latest twists and turns from President Donald Trump's cabinet. Housing secretary Ben Carson's taste in dining room furniture; a pricey soundproof booth installed by EPA chief Scott Pruitt; Rex Tillerson's out and H.R. McMaster may be next.
Politico:Trump Gives McMaster The Tillerson Treatment — "President Donald Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster isn’t getting fired, he’s getting Tillersoned – kept in a state of perpetual limbo about his future in the administration, aware that his unpredictable boss could keep him around indefinitely or terminate him at a moment’s notice."
Washington Post:Trump Cabinet Members Accused Of Living Large At Taxpayer Expense — "At least a half-dozen current or former Trump Cabinet officials have been mired in federal investigations over everything from high-end travel and spending on items such as a soundproof phone booth to the role of family members weighing in on official business."
Weekly Standard: Is McMaster On His Way Out, Too? — "President Trump is moving closer toward shaking up his administration in a big way, according to sources familiar with his thinking."
Washington Post:Trump Had Senior Staff Sign Nondisclosure Agreements — "Back in April 2016, when the notion of Donald Trump in the White House still seemed fanciful, The Post’s Robert Costa and Bob Woodward sat down with Trump, and Costa, at one point, raised the subject of the nondisclosure agreements for employees of which the candidate was so fond."
Who might President Trump say “You’re fired!” to today? The president promised that “there will always be change” when it comes to his White House and cabinet – and so far he’s delivered. Last week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was chopped. Trump is also reportedly eyeing replacements for National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and at the VA, And who knows what he’ll do with Chief of Staff John Kelly?
This hour, On Point: the chaos cabinet and what comes next.
Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe's memos about his interactions with the president are now in the possession of special counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators, according to media reports.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Updated at 10:25 p.m. ET
Before Washington, D.C., had fully processed the late-night firing of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was let go by Attorney General Jeff Sessions less than 48 hours before his planned retirement after more than two decades of service to the bureau, the saga took several new, head-spinning turns Saturday.
McCabe had taken notes and memos about his interactions with President Trump, similar to those prepared by his former boss and colleague James Comey, a source familiar with the issue told NPR. The source also said the McCabe documents corroborate Comey's account — which could play a key role in Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's inquiry into obstruction of justice.
The McCabe memos are in the possession of Mueller's team of investigators, according to CNN and Axios. And McCabe already sat for an interview with Mueller's team, Axios also reported.
A personal lawyer for the president pointed to McCabe's ouster to argue that it was time for the Justice Department to end the special counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential race and of any ties between Russians and the Trump campaign.
The attorney's remarks — though not intended to speak for the president — set off yet another round of concern among congressional Democrats about the status of the special counsel investigation and possible ways to protect it — and its leader, former FBI Director Mueller — from being terminated by the White House or the Justice Department.
By Saturday evening, the president would echo his personal attorney, writing on Twitter "The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier ...."
And, Saturday afternoon McCabe's onetime boss, Comey, sparred directly on Twitter with the president, who fired the FBI director in May of last year. Comey, on the verge of releasing a book, told Trump that soon the American people "can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not."
Sessions announced late Friday that he had terminated McCabe's employment with the FBI "effective immediately."
The attorney general pointed to internal recommendations from the Justice Department's inspector general and the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility that found "McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions," Sessions said in a statement announcing the firing.
"The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, 'all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand,' " Sessions also said.
But McCabe said his firing was politically motivated. "I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey," McCabe said in his own late-night statement Friday. The former FBI official said he had been targeted because he can "corroborate former Director Comey's accounts of his discussions with the President."
McCabe's attorney said in his own statement that the White House has attacked McCabe since last year with the result of putting "inappropriate pressure" on Sessions to oust McCabe. "This intervention by the White House in the DOJ disciplinary process is unprecedented, deeply unfair, and dangerous," attorney Michael Bromwich said.
Bromwich also argued that the process by which the termination decision had been made was unfair and had been rushed, limiting the time that he and McCabe had to access, review and analyze the relevant evidence in order to prepare a response.
The "concerted effort to accelerate the process in order to beat the ticking clock of [McCabe's] scheduled retirement violates any sense of decency and basic principles of fairness," Bromwich said. (Sessions, for his part, said the internal investigation of McCabe had been "extensive and fair" and undertaken "according to Department of Justice Procedure.")
The McCabe firing added yet more fuel to the Russia imbroglio, an at least year-long conflagration that never wants for oxygen in Washington, D.C.
"This will be known as the Friday night slaughter," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said on CNN soon after news of the ouster broke. Brinkley was referencing President Richard M. Nixon's infamous "Saturday Night Massacre" of several senior Justice Department officials during the Watergate scandal.
A personal lawyer for Trump seized on the firing and suggested it should provide motivation for the Justice Department to end the Mueller investigation altogether.
Saying he was speaking for himself and not for Trump, attorney John Dowd said in a statement emailed to NPR that "I pray that [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein will follow the brilliant and courageous example of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility and Attorney General Jeff Sessions and bring an end to alleged Russia Collusion investigation manufactured by McCabe's boss James Comey based upon a fraudulent and corrupt Dossier."
"Just end it on the merits in light of recent revelations," Dowd explained, apparently alluding to the internal investigation that had ended McCabe's FBI career just before he planned to retire.
The top Democrat in the Senate said Dowd's view reflected the inclination of the president and his legal team to undermine the special counsel rather than to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.
"The president, the administration, and his legal team must not take any steps to curtail, interfere with, or end the special counsel's investigation or there will be severe consequences from both Democrats and Republicans," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement Saturday.
The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee saw Dowd's remarks as a call to action for his colleagues. "Every member of Congress, Republican and Democrat, needs to speak up in defense of the Special Counsel. Now," Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., posted on Twitter.
Despite the pushback from leading Democrats in the Senate, Trump himself said Saturday night that the Mueller investigation should never have begun. "...[t]here was no collusion and there was no crime" Trump tweeted, adding that the Russia inquiry was a "WITCH HUNT!"
The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!
Hearing the echo Dowd's comments earlier in the in the day in Trump's evening tweet, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman observed: "Only two real options on Dowd's initial comment this AM - Trump approved it and was happy with it, or Trump wanted him to go further, was unhappy he didn't, and is doing so himself now."
Vice President Pence (second from left) and then-Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy watch President Trump shake hands with then-FBI Director James Comey in January. Comey was fired less than four months later.
Alongside the response to Dowd, lawmakers, partisans, political observers and journalists responded to the firing throughout the day — with Trump leaving no doubt how he felt.
The occasion of McCabe's firing was "a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy," the president said in an early morning tweet. Trump also used the online posting to take a swipe at Comey, calling him "sanctimonious" and suggesting Comey "knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!"
A former director of the CIA under President Barack Obama slammed Trump after the president praised McCabe's ouster. "[Y]ou will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history," John Brennan posted on Twitter. "You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you."
When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America...America will triumph over you. https://t.co/uKppoDbduj
"Gloat now, but you will be fired soon," Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of both the House intelligence committee and the House Judiciary Committee, told Trump. "There's a storm gathering, Mr. President, and it's going to wipe out you and your corrupt organization all the way down to the studs."
Gloat now, but you will be fired soon. And it’s not going to be done cowardly, as you’ve done to so many who’ve served you. There’s a storm gathering, Mr. President, and it’s going to wipe out you and your corrupt organization all the way down to the studs. https://t.co/I0UlNAlwxI
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said on Twitter that the firing was an attempt to undermine McCabe as a witness in the special counsel investigation and was "added evidence of obstruction of justice."
And Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., a member of both the Senate intelligence committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee said the attorney general "needs to testify immediately before the Judiciary Committee" about McCabe's firing. "He must explain the DOJ's process and whether this is an attempt to target, punish or silence those investigating Russia and the Trump campaign."
Jeff Sessions needs to testify immediately before the Judiciary Committee to answer questions on the firing of Andrew McCabe. He must explain the DOJ’s process and whether this is an attempt to target, punish or silence those investigating Russia and the Trump campaign.
But Republican lawmakers said Saturday that McCabe's termination was justified.
"I applaud Attorney General Jeff Sessions for taking action and firing former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe prior to his scheduled retirement," Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said in a statement. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee added, "More must be done to root out the problems at the FBI. I remain extremely troubled by the decisions made by the Bureau during the 2016 presidential election and the role senior FBI officials played in these questionable decisions and irregularities."
Mr. McCabe’s firing, following an internal investigation and report by career civil servants at the FBI and DOJ, is important but more must be done to root out the problems at the FBI. https://t.co/qfpger6N9w
And Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., another member of the House Judiciary Committee, said McCabe's firing was "a rare example of someone being held accountable in Washington."
As is his habit, the president took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon to once again deny that his campaign had colluded with Russia, citing a recently announced conclusion by the House intelligence committee. In a seeming reference to McCabe's termination, the president added that "As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State."
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the House intelligence committee's top Democrat, quickly pointed out that the conclusion there had been no collusion was confined to the committee's Republicans — who, Schiff told Trump, were "more interested in protecting you than learning the truth."
Mr. President, the Committee reached no such conclusion — only Republicans. In fact, we did find evidence of collusion, despite GOP members being more interested in protecting you than learning the truth. When accusing others of lying, best not to misrepresent facts yourself. https://t.co/fIuKPGyEN1
The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!
Comey responded within minutes: "Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not."
But Saturday may have included a bright side for McCabe.
In an effort to help McCabe complete the amount of employment necessary to qualify for his pension, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., offered McCabe a job. "My offer of employment to Mr. McCabe is a legitimate offer to work on election security," Pocan said in a press release.
The Democratic lawmaker added: "Finally, I'd like to thank Mr. McCabe for his years of service to the FBI and our country. He deserves the full retirement that he has been promised, not to have it taken away as a result of the President's political games."
Donald Trump still does not understand how government workers document. All messages/notes have two documentations (supervisory receivers) and one originator who files his or her copy and file it. Security personnel like those working for the FBI or CIA have to possess spectacular memories and methods of recall. Trump should have learned this from Comey, and may soon learn this from Tillerson, as soon as his depression abates and his anger rises. Tillerson is a man from Koch because Mobile-Exxon is a member of the Kochtopus. However, Trump's acts of cruelty and vengeance took on new heights with the way Andrew McCabe was fired: Two days before his retirement, 50 years-old, his pension, and his health-care wiped away after 21-years of loyal government service. Hitler would be proud of this action by Mr. Trump. All that was missing was the meat hooks and the piano wire.
I wonder how Trump's rural White Trumpsters loyalist feel about this lack of empathy on Trump's part, especially those whose jobs closed just as they reached retirement age and plants closed or were moved overseas by American corporations. This is the ill will that John Higgs in Stranger Than You Can Imagine (2015) writes about that New Yorker journalist George Packer refers to as the "unwinding."
Trump is unwinding the retirement hopes--lifestyle of Andrew McCabe and his family with malice aforethought: two days before his official retirement. Trump by nature has no empathy; just as Hitler and the Nazis had none. Trump passed this criminal trait onto his son Don Jr. Don Jr.'s wife is divorcing him, and has hired a Criminal Defense Lawyer, instead of a Divorce Lawyer. What's up? “They were having problems before they even got married. People were telling her not to marry him before the wedding,” the source said. “She was interviewing divorce lawyers before [Trump’s presidency]. No one thought he’d win. He won and she decided to stay until his term is over. But she just couldn’t stand it anymore.” https://pagesix.com/2018/03/19/vanessa-is-divorcing-donald-trump-jr...
BACKSTORY TO TRUMP & MCCABE'S SOUR RELATIONSHIP
REVENGE AT ANY COST
David Cay Johnston in The Making Of Donald Trump (2016) writes about the vindictive nature of Donald J. Trump. Cay writes that Trump released Think Big, his twelfth book. Think Big was coauthored by Bill Zanker. Chapter 6 of Think Big is titled "Revenge."
"I always get even," Trump writes in the opening line of that chapter. He then launches into an attack on the same woman he had previously denounced in Colorado. Trump recruited the unnamed woman "from her government job where she was making peanuts"; her career going nowhere. "I decided to make her somebody. I gave her a great job at the Trump Organization, and over time she became powerful in real estate. She bought a beautiful home."
When Trump was in financial trouble in the early 1990s, "I asked her to make a phone call to an extremely close friend of hers who held a powerful position at a big bank and who would have done what she asked. She said, 'Donald, I can't do that.' Instead of accepting that the woman felt such a call would be improper, Trump fired her. She started her own business. Trump writes that her business failed. "I was really happy when I found that out," he said.
In Trump's telling, the story of an employee declining to do something unseemly is really the story of a rebellion to be crushed.
She has turned on me after I had done so much to help her. I had asked here for one favor in return and she turned me down flat. She ended up losing her home. Her husband, who was only in it for the money, walked out on her and I was glad. Over the years many people have called asking for a recommendation for her. I only gave her bad recommendations. I can't stomach disloyalty . . . and now I go out of my way to make her life miserable.
Trump devotes another several pages to actress Rosie O'Donnell, who described him as "a snake-oil salesman" in 2006. A few months later, a Zanker's 2007 Learning Annex Real Estate & Expo, Trump called O'Donnell "a pig," "a degenerate," "a slob," and later (on television) "disgusting inside and out." He made disparaging remarks about her looks, weight, and sexuality and said on national television that O'Donnell's emotional health would improve if she never looked in a mirror.
In Think Big Trump calls O'Donnell a bully: "You've got to hit a bully really hard really strongly, right between the eyes. I hit that horrible woman right smack in the middle of the eyes. It's true. Some people would have ignored her insults. I decided to fight back and make her regret the day she decided to unload on me!"
At the end of the chapter, Trump writes, "I love getting even when I get screwed by someone--yes, it is true. Always get even. When you are in business you need to get even with people who screw you. You need to screw them back fifteen times harder. Go for the jugular, attack them in spades!"
House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday: "The special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely."
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Updated at 7:38 p.m. ET
Top Republican lawmakers do not support legislation aimed at protecting Department of Justice special counsel Robert Mueller and his Russia investigation from White House interference, insisting that it is unnecessary.
"The special counsel should be free to follow through his investigation to its completion without interference, absolutely," House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Tuesday. "I am confident that he'll be able to do that. I have received assurances that his firing is not even under consideration."
The speaker did not say who has offered him such assurances, but his view is widely held among congressional Republicans that President Trump will not attempt to fire Mueller. Fears of White House meddling were stoked over the weekend after the late Friday firing of outgoing FBI official Andrew McCabe and a series of presidential tweets, some attacking Mueller by name.
Republicans largely downplayed those concerns but, at the same time, offered support for Mueller's investigation.
"I agree with the president's lawyers that Bob Mueller should be allowed to finish his job. I believe it was an excellent appointment, and he should be allowed to go where the facts lead him, " Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told reporters on Tuesday, before adding, "I don't think Bob Mueller is going anywhere."
"I can't think of a more upsetting moment in the rule of law to have an investigator looking at a president's campaign as to whether or not they colluded with a foreign government, what kind of crimes may have been committed," Graham said, "I've seen no evidence of collusion, but to stop the investigation without cause, I think, would be a constitutional crisis."
Other top Republicans, including House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, have all publicly warned the White House since the weekend to cool it on Mueller. Hatch went so far to say that firing Mueller would be "the stupidest thing" Trump could do.
Retiring Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., a frequent Trump critic, said it was incumbent upon all Republicans to make it clear that firing Mueller is a red line that can't be crossed. Republicans have generally avoided direct criticism of the president. "If you're going to pick a fight, this is a fight to pick. You've got to pick this fight. If you don't pick this fight, we might as well not be here. This is a serious one," Flake said.
He was less confident than most of his Republican colleagues that Trump can be trusted to leave the special counsel alone. "Just a week ago he said he wasn't firing Tillerson, too. I think pre-emptively it would behoove our leadership to be forceful and say, 'This is a line you cannot cross,' " Flake said.
Later Tuesday, Flake appeared to turn up the volume on his concerns. In an evening tweet, referenced impeachment: "We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. ..." The tweet echoed and crystallized remarks Flake made to the Washington Post.
We are begging the president not to fire the special counsel. Don't create a constitutional crisis. Congress cannot preempt such a firing. Our only constitutional remedy is after the fact, through impeachment. No one wants that outcome. Mr. President, please don't go there.
Congressional leaders are putting the final touches on a $1.3 trillion spending bill that will pass Congress in the coming days. Some Democrats would like to see language included in the must-pass bill to protect Mueller, but GOP leaders have said that is off the table.
Not all Democrats believe legislation is necessary at this time. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., told reporters she also believes the president understands how severe the consequences would be if he were to interfere with an independent investigation. "[Mueller] is protected now. He's working independently now," she said, "I don't believe that there is any cause to terminate him and without cause, it becomes political, and that, I think, would rip apart this administration." https://www.npr.org/2018/03/20/595242242/republican-lawmakers-say-m...
Johnston relates that sixteen pages of Think Big are devoted to revenge. All of them run directly contrary to basic biblical teaching [the Trump brags that he lives by] Trump leaves no room for doubt that revenge is a guiding principle of his life--"My motto is: Always get even. When someone screws up, get them back in spades"--but that guiding principle stands in direct opposition to both Christian and Jewish theology:
Exodus 21:24 Common English Bible (CEB): 24 an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand, a foot for a foot,
Matthew 5:39-45 Common English Bible (CEB):
39 But I say to you that you must not oppose those who want to hurt you. If people slap you on your right cheek, you must turn the left cheek to them as well. 40 When they wish to haul you to court and take your shirt, let them have your coat too. 41 When they force you to go one mile, go with them two. 42 Give to those who ask, and don’t refuse those who wish to borrow from you.
Law of love.
43 “You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy. 44 But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you 45 so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
On another page of Think Big, Trump acknowledges that "this is not your typical advice, get even, but this is real-life advice. If you don't get even, you are just a schmuck! I really mean it, too." It will come as no surprise that Trump's views on revenge were not limited to employees he considered disloyal, people he had done deals with, or even petty insults by an actress. In fact, in the year 2000, Trump turned his revenge on his own family. His epileptic nephew.