Deputy F.B.I. Director Andrew McCabe, Target Of Blistering Trump Attacks, Is Out
The 20-year agency veteran was widely expected to quit in a couple of months anyway, so what’s the big deal? Here’s what: McCabe served as an effective lighting rod for all the worst impulses Trump, and more recently Congress, have had in regard to blossoming conspiracy theories about ill-intent toward Trump from inside intelligence agencies.
Even though the White House insisted Trump had no direct role in McCabe’s departure (just like he never considered firing Special Counsel Mueller?), it also underscores the unprecedented level at which the President meddles in the day-to-day operations of his Justice Department and the F.B.I., both of which are part of an active investigation involving his Administration.
One mind-blowing example detailed in an NBC News story saying after Trump sprung his surprise on F.B.I. Director James Comey, firing him while on a trip to L.A., Trump was furious then Acting F.B.I. Director McCabe allowed Comey to fly back to D.C. on a government plane, when he should’ve been forced to fly commercial. (Our comment: with Trump, it’s all about humiliation.) NBC News says according to multiple sources:
The White House says that conversation “never happened”.
Trump assailed McCabe because his wife took campaign donations from Clinton ally and former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, or in Trump-speak: “Clinton Puppets“.
Fired F.B.I. director James Comey chirped shortly after McCabe’s ouster, coupled with a mini pep talk:
But from the perspective of a radical Right conspiracy-theorist, he’s only proving their point. House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte ominously telling the New York Times: “Mr. McCabe’s departure certainly doesn’t mean we are done rooting out the problems at the F.B.I.”
Now That McCabe’s Gone, The Target Will Inevitably Move To Someone Else’s Back
Quite possibility Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Although Rosenstein wrote the memo justifying Comey’s firing by arguing he bungled the Hillary Clinton investigation (a charge Trump shortly after contradicted in an interview with Lester Holt), he also committed the cardinal sin of appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
And Rosenstein’s apparently front-and-center of that secret memo penned by House Intelligence Committee Chief Devin Nunes that the Justice Department previously said it doesn’t want out, but Trump does. According to the New York Times, at least part of what Nunes appears to be attempting to prove is that Rosenstein pulled a fast one: seeking a warrant to monitor Trump campaign associate Carter Page, without adequately disclosing the request was based on information contained in the now-infamous “Steele dossier”, which Trump has repeatedly referred to as “garbage”.
According to Bloomberg, Trump “erupted in anger” aboard Air Force One last week, after he learned a Justice official warned against releasing the memo, saying it would be “incredibly reckless” to do so. That led to Trump warning “[Attorney General Jeff] Sessions and others they need to excel at their jobs or go down as the worst in history”.
Nunes’ Committee has voted to release his memo, but before it’s made public, the White House has to review it, since it likely contains classified info. The vote was along party lines. Since the memo is a completely subjective connect-the-dots interpretation by the Republican Committee Chair, Democrats asked for permission to release a similar document of their own to the public. That was voted down. However, it will be distributed to Members of the House, so details will invariably leak out anyway.
The ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, arguing what should be obvious, but sadly isn’t: that this is all part of a “coordinated effort” by “Trump zealots” to impede Mueller’s investigation. Warner told Politico he’s seen “extraordinarily important new documents” related to the Trump/Russia investigation. He didn’t elaborate further, except to say “Mueller is getting closer and closer to the truth….closer and closer to the truth is getting closer and closer to the President.”
Another Powerful Republican Member Of Congress Calls It Quits
New Jersey’s Rodney Frelinghuysen’s situation is a unique sign of the times. He’s been in the House for 22 years, and finally just made it to Chair of the House Appropriations Committee this term. The Committee is one of the most influential of all, because it decides how and where government money is spent. For that reason the Chair usually doesn’t have too much trouble getting reelected, since it usually isn’t too difficult to return lots of cash to his or her home district. And according to nj.com, Frelinghuysen did that.
But this year, apparently, that just ain’t enough. And faced with his toughest campaign ever, he’s bowing out. Frelinghuysen walked a political tightrope for much of the year, voting for Obamacare repeal (which failed), but against Trump’s tax bill (which passed). That bill slams residents of high tax states like New Jersey.
It’s unclear who Republicans will draft to run in his place. Democrat Mikie Sherrill, announced she’d be challenging for the seat months ago. She’s one of several female United States Naval Academy grads running as Democrats for House seats this year.
Idaho Decides To Ignore Obamacare. Can It Get Away With That?
This story comes from Sarah Kliff at Vox, who says the state will allow insurers to write policies that don’t comply with Obamacare at all. That leaves them free not to cover preexisting conditions, for instance. Or re-impose lifetime caps on benefits. Or a whole bunch of things Obamacare doesn’t allow.
How does the state think it’ll get away with it? It’s betting the Trump Administration won’t care enough to enforce the federal law.
At the same time, insurers might be less than eager to test out this theory, since state residents could still sue them for imposing limits on coverage that are clearly illegal under Obamacare.
We Understand Many Of Our Subscribers Did Not Receive “The Chaos Report” Yesterday
First of all, we apologize, we hope this was a one-time glitch and you are reading this now. We are looking into what might’ve happened.
We are also re-sending a link to a story we posted yesterday: a preview from Roll Call of President Trump’s State of the Union address, which will be tonight at 9 EST.