Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.
The chaos president is apparently trying to export his signature tumult into the halls of the FBI in hopes of casting the bureau into a permanent state of turmoil.
That’s the price the bureau is paying for being associated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s intensifying Russia and obstruction of justice investigations, as it zeroes in on Donald Trump and his team.
And on Monday, it reached a new public level of concern when FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has been Trump’s punching bag for months, abruptly resigned — or was “removed” — months before he was expected to leave the agency.
“People are pretty angry right now and that they are hearing FBI leadership moves from the news,” reported Shimon Prokupecz at CNN. “This had not even been released internally yet at the FBI before it was really announced in the news, and before we started reporting it.”
Since last summer, both men, and McCabe especially, have been vilified by Republicans who have been working alongside the White House as they plot to destroy reputations — the reputations of top FBI leaders, and the reputation of the bureau itself.
McCabe was expected to leave in March, but on Monday news broke of his resignation that very day. Some press reports suggest he was forced into it.
Regardless, for staffers who watched Trump fire their director last year for purely political reasons, the latest move just adds to the sense of a GOP-inflicted crisis.
“There is some concern now, again from field agents, among FBI staff, as to what the hell is going on, and who is running the FBI,” reported Prokupecz.
Trump and his team now seem to be trying to pick off their adversaries one by one, until eventually they control all senior players at the Department of Justice. Those loyal staffers would, in theory, protect Trump from any looming legal jeopardy.
Unquestionably, a defining hallmark of Trump’s first year in office has been how aggressively he has pressured career prosecutors to quit in hopes that their exits will lesson his political and legal risk.
Just last week, it was reported that when Trump met with McCabe last year in the White House, he asked the then-acting FBI director who he voted for in 2016 — a widely inappropriate question, since there’s supposed to be an impenetrable wall between White House politics and the DOJ.
Moreover, the inquiry hinted at a larger loyalty test in play.
“It is explosive, because what it shows is even more powerful evidence of obstruction of justice and interference with the FBI, and an attack on the FBI itself,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) said after learning about Trump pressing McCabe on his personal voting history.
All of these machinations and pressure tactics from the White House confirm why it’s so important for there to be bipartisan action taken in Congress to protect Mueller’s investigation.
And why justice needs to be shielded from Trump’s attacks.