Who to Believe
Let’s begin with what would have been the big bombshells of the interview: that Deputy Attorney General Fraud Rosenstein suggested invoking the 25th Amendment to remove PDT from office and floated the idea of his wearing a wire into the White House to record his conversations with the president to get it done. These points were far less dramatic than they would have been had they not already been reported by the Failing New York Times back in September of last year.
In the 60 Minutes interview, McCabe gives an account that’s broadly consistent with the initial NYT story, which should come as a surprise to precisely no one. The original story was sourced to people “briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by FBI officials, including Andrew G. McCabe,” and it described conversations between Rosenstein and McCabe, among others. In other words, while McCabe’s lawyers insulted our intelligence at the time by insisting that “no one associated with Andrew McCabe or his team shared, read [or] described … any part of his memos with any reporter,” the Times’s sourcing clearly indicates that the story reflects McCabe’s point of view. McCabe is no stranger to leaking, after all, and the story is ultimately based off his memos. S
But telling people the NYT story is based off McCabe’s memos is very, very different from having him tell the story himself on camera before a national audience, and so for many, this story has just begun. Now McCabe is on the record confirming those reports and fleshing them out. Most importantly, he’s now on video flatly contradicting Fraud Rosenstein’s own account of the matter. You know what happens when two snakes strongly deny the other’s story? You guessed it! People —even the thickest among us— are able to see that someone is lying.
In response to the initial failing NYT report last September, Rosenstein issued a statement declaring that the story was “inaccurate and factually incorrect” and that, “Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” The Justice Department also provided an anonymous official’s comment that Rosenstein had made the comment about wearing a wire sarcastically, which was the defense adopted by Rosenstein from the beginning. Soon after the report was published, the Failing Washington Post quoted a source who likewise characterized Rosenstein’s comments as sarcasm, along the lines of, “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?”
At the time, I was inclined to believe Rosenstein’s explanation for two main reasons: McCabe and the 25th Amendment itself. McCabe is a demonstrable liar, and not just on one or two occasions. He’d been busted in several lies by the DOJ Inspector General, ultimately leading to his firing. The IG found that he lied repeatedly regarding leaks to the Fake News he’d authorized.
The answers he’d given investigators were also less than impressive. “Did I ever intentionally mislead the people I spoke to? I did not,” he said in one instance, adding, “I had no reason to. And I did not.” The IG report’s finding that he “lacked candor” in his answers on multiple occasions, combined with this rather unconvincing denial, made it hard to assume he was the truthful party in his deep state credibility battle (now there’s a tallest midget contest) against Rosenstein.
What’s even worse — not only did McCabe have a history of lying about leaks, the very leaks he authorized were they, themselves lies. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he leaked to the Failing Washington Post that he’d been battling his colleagues within the DOJ about whether to go hard after Hillary. McCabe portrayed himself as a hawk who wanted to take Hillary down who’d been met with some resistance from Comey. This was nonsense, of course; a transparently self-serving story meant to deflect suspicion from the approximate $700K his wife Jill had received from Clinton money bag man Terry McAuliffe.
Given that McCabe had lied not only lied about the leaking itself, but had given false information within the leak in order to protect himself, one would be hard-pressed to assume that the memos given to the NYT would be anything but fiction meant to serve his own purpose, which at the time was to save his skin amid a DOJ probe that had already cost his career and threatened to #LockHimUp.
The second reason, as noted, was the 25th Amendment itself. Fraud Rosenstein, whatever one thinks of him, isn’t stupid. And as a non-stupid person, would know that the 25th Amendment isn’t merely for presidents he didn’t like. It’s designed for president who is unable to discharge the duties of office, i.e. incapacitated. Woodrow Wilson’s stroke and Reagan’s assassination attempt are both instances in which the 25th would be on the table. PDT would have to be literally stark raving mad and unable to function for it to become a viable option barring a physical event of the aforementioned type.
Given McCabe’s history combined with Rosenstein’s presumed understanding of how the 25th Amendment works, the question of who to believe didn’t seem a particularly difficult one, though choosing between which swamper to trust isn’t a task I’d recommend one assume voluntarily.
One must always be ready and willing to take on new information, though, and McCabe has pushed this story further in a way that has forced us (me) to reexamine who has managed to be the shadiest actor in a group full of ‘em.
I’ll be honest — you don’t look nearly as beautiful as you did before I forced you to trudge through all that, but I’m gonna need you to turn that page again anyway.