During an appearance on CNN's New Day Thursday morning, panelist John Avlon did not seem to like the idea that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe for his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation, saying "that is a disgrace to fire somebody days before retirement, and take away their pension really for what is a petty and political reason."
Avlon and fellow panelist Karoun Demirjian, Congressional Reporter for The Washington Post, had gossiped about the potential replacement of seven of Trump’s cabinet members, citing an anonymous “source” claiming that the President wants to purge his cabinet of “deadweight.” Attorney General Jeff Sessions was one of the seven cabinet members who may find himself on the chopping block. Demirjian suggested that if Sessions decided to fire McCabe, he may find himself back in Trump’s good graces, as President Trump had previously complained about Sessions’ failure to fire McCabe.
According to The New York Times, a report from the Justice Department Inspector General recommended McCabe’s termination as a result of his decision to allow members of the FBI to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. Avlon suggested that the Inspector General’s recommendation serves as “coverage” for the Justice Department should they seek to fire McCabe but still referred to a potential firing as a “disgrace” and “petty and political.” Even co-host Alisyn Camerota did not agree with Avlon’s declaration, asking “what if he did mislead about the Hillary Clinton investigation?” Avlon dismissed Camerota’s concerns, alleging that “this is purely Presidential personal peak, we all know that to be true.”
Should Sessions actually decide to fire McCabe, he has to act fast; as McCabe’s retirement will go into effect on Sunday. McCabe announced his decision to step down earlier this year, after facing questions over conflicts of interest. His wife had run for the Virginia Senate in 2015, receiving money from a PAC aligned with Virginia Governor and Clinton Loyalist Terry McAuliffe. McCabe effectively oversaw the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private e-mail server even though his wife took money from a PAC associated with one of her good buddies. McCabe briefly served as Acting Director of the FBI last year in the time between the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the appointment of New FBI Director Christopher Wray.
Avlon and many of his colleagues in the media dismissed the entire Clinton e-mail investigation as a witch hunt, which they relentlessly chastise Republicans for saying about the Russia investigation. It might seem "petty and political" to Avlon to take away McCabe's pension but if he did behave inappropriately, he should lose his pension.
CNN New Day
ALISYN CAMEROTA: Okay, let’s talk about the cabinet because this is more than just a parlor game of who’s in, who’s out. Things seem to be happening. There’s all sorts of reporting that the President was not satisfied with his original picks and these are the people who may be on the chopping block. And there’s a lot of them. I mean, from David Shulkin, Jeff Sessions, H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, Ryan Zinke, Ben Carson and Betsy DeVos have made their own mistakes quite publicly in the past week. So Karoun, what information do you have?
KAROUN DEMIRJIAN: Well, I mean, everybody’s kind of waiting to see where the President turns next. Clearly, the Tillerson dismissal was a very, very big deal this week and then McMaster’s name started to be floated about. I mean, from that list of faces and cabinet positions that you put up, it’s really the President has a choice, does he want to get rid of the people who have, you know, bought really expensive dining room tables and spent taxpayer money on plane flights and screwed up on 60 Minutes, or does he want to go for the people who have really kind of been his antagonist on his policy, whether it’s Sessions, he’s really upset at Sessions for a long time for recusing himself on Russia issues, feels like that worsened his lot. Or McMaster, who, you know, he poked at even when he was overseas representing the United States to allied nations in, in Germany. So, which way the President goes, I think in large part is going to depend on what he feels the public blowback to that is. And Sessions has a test this week frankly with the Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who’s now been recommended for firing, so that may...Trump wanted him gone so we’ll see if that’s his test for Sessions and what he determines he’s going to do in the next few days.
JOHN AVLON: Yeah, I mean, the two buckets that these cabinet officials can be put into are there is one, people who are embarrassments or who had distractions, mini-scandals. The other people who’ve committed the sin of telling the President no and they tend to be from the National Security apparatus or law enforcement. Losing them is much more dangerous for the country and the institution of the Presidency. And if he all of a sudden does cut off McMaster, who’s been widely respected, has the guts to tell the President what he needs to know and what he doesn’t necessarily want to hear, and replaces him with another TV cable host who is more inclined to say yes, that’s bad for the country. And the McCabe thing, if they fire McCabe, I know they have the recommendation as coverage now, that is a disgrace to fire somebody days before retirement, and take away their pension really for what is a petty and political reason.
CAMEROTA: But was it? I mean, but what if he didn’t, what if he did mislead about the Hillary Clinton investigation?
AVLON: This is purely Presidential personal peak, we all know that to be true. He just now is the fig leaf of an excuse for the Justice Department.