Who to Believe (Cont.)
By McCabe’s account, he didn’t seriously consider implementing Rosenstein’s suggestion—but he did discuss it with the FBI’s leadership team. Notably, he describes then-FBI General Counsel Jim Baker as having been the one to throw cold water on the idea: “I think the general counsel had a heart attack. And when he got up off the floor, he said, ‘I, I, that’s a bridge too far. We’re not there yet.’”
This obviously doesn’t jive with Rosenstein’s claim that his comments were obviously sarcastic. But that’s not all.
According to McCabe, not only was Rosenstein completely serious in his suggestion, he went as far as lobbying Trump administration cabinet members and conducting a whip count of sorts to see who they had on their side. In McCabe’s account, “he was discussing other cabinet members and whether or not people would support such an idea.” Notably, while McCabe says he couldn’t recall whether Rosenstein “assign[ed] specific votes to specific people,” the NYT describes Rosenstein as telling McCabe that “he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and [then-Secretary of Homeland Security] John F. Kelly” to turn against the president.
Assuming this is true, the fact that Rosenstein felt that he may be able to get Sessions and Kelly on his side is very disturbing, considering those are two of the men who were most hawkish on the president’s agenda. What’s even more disturbing is the prospect that it wasn’t them, since that would imply that whoever it was could very well still be working for PDT.
This is the point at which McCabe takes a decisive lead in the who-to-believe race, as his claims are further validated by congressional testimony from none other than the aforementioned heart-attack haver Jim Baker. While Baker’s testimony regarding Rosenstein’s cabinet hunt is based on second hand info, it does provide a contemporaneous account that supports McCabe’s assertions.
According to Baker, the discussions happened in May 2017, just after PDT fired Leakin’ James Comey:
“I was being told by some combination of Andy McCabe and Lisa Page, that, in a conversation with the deputy attorney general, he had stated that he — this was what was related to me — that he had at least two members of the president’s cabinet who were ready to support, I guess you would call it, an action under the 25th Amendment,” Baker told members of the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees in a closed-door session last fall.
“This was not a joking sort of time. This was pretty dark,” Baker said, referring to the days following Comey’s firing.
It’s now 2 vs 1 (3 vs 1 if you count Lisa Page), which aren’t good numbers for Rosenstein, with at least one of those being sworn congressional testimony. As for Rosenstein’s response to the latest bombshells, well, he’s still not doing himself any favors.
He isn’t denying the substance of what McCabe is saying. In the DOJ’s response to McCabe’s comments, the department states that “the Deputy Attorney General again rejects Mr. McCabe’s recitation of events as inaccurate and factually incorrect.” The statement doesn’t actually contradict McCabe’s factual claims; it contradicts claims he does not make; a little something we in the debating business call a “straw man.”
“The Deputy Attorney General never authorized any recording that Mr. McCabe references,” the DOJ contends. Cool story, bro. It would be even cooler if that’s what was being alleged. McCabe never said that Rosenstein “authorized” any recording.
And the department states that: “As the Deputy Attorney General previously has stated, based on his personal dealings with the President, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was the DAG in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.” But McCabe never says that Rosenstein concluded that the amendment should be invoked—merely that he raised the idea and seemed to be counting votes on the subject, neither of which are denied by the DOJ statement.
In short, notwithstanding McCabe’s credibility issue—which is very, very real—he isn’t the one coming off as cagey here. If Rosenstein and the DOJ don’t want people to believe McCabe’s account, they need to start by denying it clearly and unequivocally. Doing so must present a problem for them or I’d imagine they would have by now.
There are only two options here: Fraud Rosenstein is full of it, or Andy McCabe and Lisa Page have conspired to make him the fall guy. However, if and when more of Baker’s closed-door testimony is released to show direct (as opposed to second-hand) testimony regarding serious discussions on wearing a wire, the case will be all but closed.
That one thing is the difference between being 90% and 100% sure. Remember, we’re dealing with some real snakes here who are all trying to save their own rear ends. That makes for very murky water. But as of now, it’s not looking good for Fraud.
We’ve got a ways to go yet. But the good news is you’re looking #GreatAgain. This section really agrees with you. Now turn that page.