McCabe’s shocking claims prove the bloodless coup rolls on
BY FRANCEY HAKES, OPINION CONTRIBUTOR
Disgraced former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe has provided clear evidence that in 2017 a small cabal of high-level officials inside the Department of Justice (DOJ) weighed whether to attempt to remove the duly-elected president of the United States. McCabe claims that he and others at the top of the FBI and DOJ held multiple discussions about invoking the Constitution’s 25th Amendment to declare President Trumpunfit for office and install the vice president in his place.
Is this proof that a rolling bloodless coup really existed within the government? McCabe himself previously provided false information to the DOJ, for which he was unceremoniously fired, rendering any statements he now makes while promoting his book highly suspect. But, given the underpinnings of the entire Russia collusion investigation and what we know now about its early steps, McCabe’s statements ring disturbingly true.
The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides for a way to remove a president who is unable to perform the duties of the office. (This is different from impeachment, the proscribed method to remove a president for misconduct.) The vice president and a majority of cabinet officers must agree, in writing, that the president is unable to discharge the duties of the office. There is no provision for law enforcement — the FBI, lawyers at DOJ, or someone such as Andy McCabe — to force a president from office. Discussions on how, or whether, to attempt to exercise the 25th Amendment in this way is truly indicative of a coup mentality by career bureaucrats.
It is hard to explain this kind of attitude except in the rankest of political contexts. McCabe’s claims that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensteinwas part of this coup attempt are shocking. The deputy AG makes innumerable decisions every day that impact a massive number of issues; practically every decision the federal government makes requires his approval if it implicates legal or constitutional issues. That any person in that position would consider wearing a wire to obtain evidence against the sitting president, based upon thin allegations contained in the dossier ex-British spy Christopher Steele produced for the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, should frighten every American.
Though McCabe’s veracity is questionable, it does seem unlikely any serious deputy attorney general would joke about such matters.
McCabe claims that he and others believed they were working for a president who might have conspired with Russia to betray this country. There must not be one scintilla of evidence of this; otherwise, special counsel Robert Mueller surely would have taken steps long before now to rid the nation of such a dangerous commander-in-chief. It apparently has not occurred to McCabe that he looks cowardly if he really believed the president was conspiring with a foreign government in a way that compromised his loyalty to this country.
And yet, McCabe blithely went about meeting with the president, continued to do his normal work, and said nothing about it publicly. Is it reasonable to believe a career law officer wouldn’t shout from the rooftops, and even risk his job, to blow the whistle on such a catastrophic potential national security risk? McCabe and his cabal knew that the entire Russia collusion narrative was bought and paid for by the Clinton campaign. We know McCabe knew this from the congressional testimonyof former associate deputy attorney general Bruce Ohr, who swore under oath (and he, unlike McCabe, was not fired for lying) that he told McCabe and others at the FBI that the Steele dossier was being pushed by a Trump-hater and should be relied upon with caution.
By May 2017, McCabe implies he was in a state of panic on behalf of the gullible nation led by a Russian asset — but as Ohr said, McCabe and his cronies were aware that the explosive claims in the dossier were unverified. How could there be panic about unverified allegations?
Also by May 2017, the FBI had months and months worth of “FISA take,” or data from the electronic spying on former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and all those with whom Page communicated over months, or even years, prior to October 2016 when the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant was signed. According to former FBI director James Comey, none of that data resulted in any verification of the claims in the Steele dossier.
Nonetheless, to these government bureaucrats it was acceptable to lie to the FISA Court by vouching for an unverified dossier. It was acceptable to them to illegally leak to the media the existence of the Russia investigation (for example, leaking the existence of a highly-classified FISA warrant on the Russian ambassador to destroy former national security adviser Michael Flynn and cripple the young presidency). And they apparently thought it acceptable to contemplate the use of the 25th Amendment to remove a president wholly capable of performing his constitutional duties.
That’s a rolling coup, indeed.
Francey Hakes was a prosecutor for 16 years and now consults on national security and the protection of children. As a former assistant U.S. attorney, she appeared before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, presenting applications for counterterrorism and counterespionage warrants on a special detail to the Department of Justice Office of Intelligence Policy and Review. Follow her on Twitter @FranceyHakes.