Shortly after prosecutors recommended charges for former FBI Deputy Director-turned-CNN Contributor Andrew McCabe for lying to investigators, his colleague, CNN Chief Legal Analyst Jeffrey Toobin, rushed to his defense during an appearance on CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin Thursday. While dismissing the seriousness of the charges against McCabe, Toobin also attempted to portray him as the victim of a “vindictive crusade” orchestrated by the Trump administration.
Host Brooke Baldwin began the segment by noting that “the Justice Department has just rejected an appeal from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe,” before yielding to CNN Crime and Justice Reporter Shimon Prokupecz. Prokupecz explained that “the Department of Justice has rejected that last-ditch effort” by McCabe’s legal team to help their client avoid prosecution, predicting that “he will be charged for making false statements.” At this point, Toobin began acting as a member of McCabe’s defense team.
According to Toobin, “This is an extremely unusual prosecution. Andy McCabe had the right to speak to reporters...as Deputy Director of the FBI, he had the right to speak to reporters. He also has an impeccable record as one of the most honored and successful FBI agents of his generation.” Conveniently, Toobin’s analysis of McCabe’s record left out the part where he was fired from the FBI for leaking information about the Clinton Foundation investigation to the media and then lying about it under oath.
Also, the idea of McCabe’s indictment as an “extremely unusual prosecution” is laughable. As CNN Legal Analyst Elie Honig explained before the network hired McCabe, “Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen, George Papadopoulos were all prosecuted for making false statements to federal investigators. I don’t see why McCabe’s case is really any different from those.” If anything, McCabe should be held to a higher standard; after all, as a member of America’s top law enforcement agency, he should know the law better than any civilian.
Toobin must have missed that segment on CNN’s New Day featuring Honig. While Toobin acknowledged that “you never have the right to lie to an Inspector General, if you lie it’s a crime,” he did his best to downplay the seriousness of the offense committed by McCabe: “lying to an Inspector General is very rarely prosecuted.”
Recycling the rhetoric the media used shortly after McCabe’s firing, Toobin tried to portray him as a victim of a “vindictive crusade” orchestrated by the Trump administration. It’s quite laughable that Toobin or anyone else in the media would lecture anyone about “vindictive crusades” since the media, working in tandem with disgraced FBI employees like McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, have gone on a “vindictive crusade” against President Trump by attempting to portray him as a Russian agent.
The latest breaking news about McCabe should have come as no surprise to anyone; including CNN. This begs the question as to why CNN hired McCabe in the first place. The answer: because he is a member of the anti-Trump #Resistance, just like they are.
A transcript of the relevant portion of Thursday’s edition of CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin is below. Click “expand” to read more.
CNN Newsroom With Brooke Baldwin
BROOKE BALDWIN: All right, here we go with the breaking news this afternoon. I’m Brooke Baldwin. You are watching CNN. Here’s what we’ve got. The Justice Department has just rejected an appeal from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who is now a CNN Contributor. This is all about the recommendation to indict him after it was alleged that he made false statements to investigators. This all took place days before the 2016 presidential election. So, with me, Shimon Prokupecz, our CNN Crime and Justice Reporter to put this all in perspective, and CNN Chief Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin. So, first of all, what is this about?
SHIMON PROKUPECZ: So, it’s really about whether or not Andrew McCabe was truthful with the Inspector General; which was investigating leaks, contact that the FBI was having with reporters. And this all stems right before the election. Andrew McCabe spoke to a Wall Street Journal reporter at the time, it was a Wall Street Journal reporter about an…a story they were writing that Andrew McCabe basically told the FBI…FBI agents who were investigating the Clinton Foundation to stand down, stop investigating the Clinton Foundation. Obviously, Andrew McCabe, he says he felt at the time that it was important to make sure that the right information got out there, that there was accurate information, and that he did nothing wrong. And so that contact with this reporter from The Wall Street Journal became the subject of the Inspector General’s investigation. And when they confronted him about his contact with the reporter, they say…the Inspector General quote, “that he lacked candor,” essentially, that’s their way of saying he wasn’t truthful to the Inspector General about those contacts, about his conversations with the reporter. Andrew McCabe says, “I was confused about some of the questions, the way they asked the questions.” And so, they investigated, the Inspector General investigated and they recommended charges. In the end, they recommended charges to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. And now it appears that that is what’s happening. So, as a last-ditch effort, McCabe’s lawyers, his team, they went into the Department of Justice. They made an appeal. They said, “We do not believe you should charge Andrew McCabe and here’s why.” We’re now being told the Department of Justice has rejected that last-ditch effort; that last appeal. And now, we all expect that he will be charged for making false statements, essentially Federal investigators, the Inspector General is considered federal investigators. So that’s what he’s going to be charged with: making false statements. At least that’s what it appears to be at this point.
JEFFREY TOOBIN: Let me just emphasize a point you…you started with. Andy McCabe is a CNN contributor. He is a colleague and a friend to many of us who work here. He’s here recently, but I mean, people need to, you know, factor that into what they’re hearing. This is an extremely unusual prosecution. Andy McCabe had the right to speak to reporters. That…that is beyond dispute. As Deputy Director of the FBI, he…he had the right to speak to reporters. He also has an impeccable record as one of the most honored and successful FBI agents of his generation. Shimon did a very admirable job of explaining what went on. It’s complicated…
BALDWIN: It is complicated.
TOOBIN: …as hell. I mean, it is…
BALDWIN: It is.
TOOBIN: …really difficult to understand even what the lie is here…
TOOBIN: …the alleged lie. The alleged lie is, well, you have the right to speak to the reporters, and you spoke to the reporters. Months later, describe what was in the conversation that you already…that you had every right to have, at a time when he’s being interviewed about a different subject. You never have the right to lie to an Inspector General. If he lied, it’s a crime. But lying to Inspector General is very rarely prosecuted. Lying in these very esoteric circumstances where, you know, it’s…it’s about this…this conversation, that conversation is rare. You know, it looks like he’s going to be indicted. But, you know, good luck to the government proving this case.
PROKUPECZ: And this is the issue for McCabe. McCabe says I as…he was the Deputy Director of the FBI; this is the number two guy at the FBI at the time, and I think if…in his mind, he could argue, “If I want to talk to reporters, I, should…I, as the Deputy Director…”
BALDWIN: …should be able to do that.
PROKUPECZ: “…should be able to do so.”
BALDWIN: Should be able to do that.
PROKUPECZ: The issue, I think also, for the Inspector General and just in generally for the Department of Justice, and we’ve seen this with the Comey situation is when you start talking about investigations, it’s against regulation. It’s not necessarily against the law, but it’s against the guidelines of the Department of Justice to start confirming or not confirming inves…investigations that are ongoing. And that’s what we saw also in some of this…
PROKUPECZ: …that they took issue with how he handled that.
TOOBIN: There’s another important point to that…to this context.
TOOBIN: The President of the United States has been on a crusade to disparage and insult Andrew McCabe for literally his entire presidency. He has been saying that McCabe was corrupt. McCabe’s wife ran for the State Senate in Virginia, as a Democrat before all this happened. He’s claimed…the President has claimed some sort of bias. You’ll recall that there was an Inspector General’s investigation and McCabe was fired on the last possible day…
TOOBIN: …when he could be denied part of his pension. I mean, there is every bit of a…
TOOBIN: …sign of a vindictive crusade against…
TOOBIN: …McCabe and McCabe has sued in a civil lawsuit to try to get to say that his firing was unjustified. That case is pending. He may also be fighting a criminal case.
BALDWIN: Okay. I think we’ve got it. Jeff Toobin, Shimon Prokupecz, it’s complicated, but I appreciate both of you. The best…best folks to…to explain all of that to us. Thank you very much.