In unhinged tweetstorm, Trump admits McCabe firing was about politics

Tweets that good lawyers would not advise.

CREDIT: Win McNamee/Getty Images
CREDIT: Win McNamee/Getty Images

On Saturday afternoon, President Trump acknowledged that the firing of deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe — a move made hours before the 21-year veteran of the bureau was eligible for his pension — was motivated by politics.

“The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired,” Trump tweeted. “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!”

Trump’s tweet refers to the fact that McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, received $500,000 from a PAC controlled by then-Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful bid for a Virginia state senate seat in 2015 — a period of time before the Hillary Clinton email investigation her husband ultimately oversaw began. Trump has cited the ties between Jill McCabe and Terry McAuliffe in previous tweets attacking the former deputy director.

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The Department of Justice is supposed to operate independently of the executive branch, and the decision to fire McCabe was ultimately made by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. But Trump has repeatedly publicly pressured Sessions to fire McCabe, and by again bringing up Jill McCabe just hours after her husband’s termination was announced, the president revealed the firing was more than McCabe’s alleged “lack of candor” during sworn testimony.

Trump’s tweet came hours after his personal attorney, John Dowd, reacted to McCabe’s firing by calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s dismissal. But the perception that Trump forced his attorney general to fire a longtime FBI deputy in order to discredit a potential key witness in the investigation into his campaign for possible obstruction of justice is not a great look, and Dowd quickly tried to walk it back.

In another tweet posted Saturday afternoon, Trump falsely claimed the House Intelligence Committee concluded “there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign.”

The committee concluded no such thing, however.

Led by chair Devin Nunes (R-CA), a group of Republicans on the committee recently announced they are ending their investigation into the Trump campaign, and have found no evidence of collusion. But Democrats on the committee disagree.

Not only do Democrats disagree with the committee majority’s decision to end the probe, but the only Republican committee member who has read the pertinent raw intelligence documents — Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) — broke with Nunes and company by saying this week it is “clear, based on the evidence” that Russia interfered in the election to damage Clinton, and thereby help Trump.

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Trump-supporting Republicans have bent over backward to cast doubt upon the conclusion, shared by Mueller and the intelligence community, that Russia helped Trump. Nunes has resorted to pushing talking points that were debunked nearly a year ago, while another Republican committee member — Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) — went as far as to question the concept of cause and effect, arguing that while Putin wanted to damage Clinton, that doesn’t necessarily mean he was trying to help Trump.