Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appears to be offering a challenge to President Donald Trump, or he may be luring his new boss into a trap. McCabe could meet the same fate as his predecessor, James Comey, who was fired by Trump. On the other hand, the acting director could give a backbone to a country that some political observers believe is in a constitutional crisis.
Comey was dismissed by Trump for “not doing a good job” and, according to others representing the White House, because the director had lost the support of more than half of the rank-and-file members of the investigative agency. This contention was rejected by McCabe during testimony at a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, with the acting director claiming that Comey in fact enjoyed the support of the majority of his employees. McCabe also emphasized that the agency has the resources to continue the investigation into allegations that Russia interfered with the American presidential election last year. His statement on the status of the inquiry seemed to contradict a request by Comey for additional resources. However, he remained steadfast in his determination to complete the investigation, which may represent the first strike against McCabe on Trump’s scorecard.
But many believe that McCabe is baiting Trump to fire him as well. This puts Donald in an extremely tough spot because he looks terrible no matter what he does. If he let’s McCabe stay, he is basically backing down from a direct confrontation. If he fires him, that’ sall the more reason to impeach the Donald.
Most pundits are convinced that the dismissal of the director was related to Trump’s opposition to the FBI probe. Previously announced by Comey, the investigation included an examination of whether any of Trump’s surrogates colluded with Russian authorities in order to help the Republican candidate. Interestingly, Trump had only last year praised Comey for examining the use by Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton of a private email server to handle sensitive government information. Before he was fired, Comey was himself about to provide testimony to a grand jury, although he could still offer damaging information even though he is no longer with the FBI.
McCabe has gone in the direction of speaking out, perhaps to show that he is not being controlled by the White House. In the event that he is also dismissed, Trump and his aides would not be able to offer a plausible reason other than their opposition to the ongoing investigation. Of course, McCabe has some issues with those outside the White House, which are related to a run by his wife for the Virginia State Senate in 2015. A Democratic candidate, she was defeated by a Republican, but she received assistance from her husband during the campaign. This issue could help thwart any prospects that McCabe, a 20-year veteran of the FBI, will be selected as the permanent director.
One alternative for the embattled White House would be the selection of a Trump lackey to head the agency and thus the probe. This could further erode confidence in a president who already has a historically low approval rating, but it might be accepted by Trump supporters, the 25 percent of Americans who continue to look for the pony in the dung heap.