The journalists at CBS This Morning on Friday threw softball after softball at fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The co-hosts even invited McCabe, who was dismissed due to lack of candor, to weigh in on the reliability of witness Michael Cohen. Guest co-host Alex Wagner wondered, “Mr. McCabe, the country watched Michael Cohen testify to Congress... this week. Did you find him a credible witness?”
Co-host John Dickerson prompted McCabe to repeat his attacks: “You write in the book that the President is a threat to the nation. Part of what you identify as his lack of candor. What do you mean by that?”
Co-host Bianna Golodryga blamed the President for a lack of recruitment at the FBI:
Recruitment is down at the FBI over the past ten years, specifically over the past few years for top special agents. How much of any of that do you attribute to the President constantly attacking the FBI?
Perhaps high profile gaffes, like mishandling Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, or other problems might have been a cause? Instead, Wagner gossiped, wondering if Trump will be impeached or resign: “Really quickly, do you think the President is going to finish his term?”
The only time anyone on the show even attempted a hard question came when Wagner got around to the elephant in the room, McCabe’s own dishonesty:
As we talk about reliability and reliable narrators, it is important to bring up that the Inspector General report that justified your firing from the FBI says you, quote, “lacked candor on four separate occasions.” What does that mean? Did you lie? And should the American public believe what you have to say in terms of your assessment of the landscape?
Most of McCabe’s media appearances to promote his book have been free of tough queries. It was left to Meghan McCain on the February 19 edition of The View, to really push the disgraced governmental official:
I don't believe you're a reliable narrator. And I'm not convinced this not just some kind of PR campaign to stop yourself from getting indicted. You were fired at the recommendation of the FBI, which, in your book, you cite four times, how great of an organization is it, for your ‘lack of candor.’ I would like you to say right here on national TV that you are not a source for The New York Times. You were never a source for The New York Times or any other publication, considering that is what you were accused of lying about. Basically, were you ever a leaker to The New York Times?
A transcript of the questions is below. Click “expand” to read more:
CBS This Morning
JOHN DICKERSON: Form FBI director Andrew McCabe says the president is dishonest in his book, The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump. McCabe writes, quote, “The President exposes himself as a deliberate liar, someone who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wishes. If he were on the box at Quantico,” meaning an FBI lie detector, “he would break the machine.” Andrew McCabe is here in Studio 57. Good morning.
ANDREW MCCABE: Good morning, John.
DICKERSON: Before we get to the President, I want to ask about the Mueller report.
DICKERSON: So, it might be delivered as early as next week to the Justice Department. You write in your book about handling the Hillary Clinton e-mail investigation and the internal deliberations over how to report your findings to the public.
MCCABE: That's right.
DICKERSON: Reflecting on that experience, how do you think the Mueller report should be handled when it's handed over?
MCCABE: I think it's very easy to compare the two, the kind of headline approach. Obviously the circumstances are fundamentally different. I know that many people had issues with the way that we handled the July announcement of our investigative results in the Hillary Clinton case. So, that's something I'm sure that the folks at the Justice Department will be thinking about as they decide what to do with this report. I can say that from my own perspective I think it's imperative that the report is shared in its most robust form first and foremost with Congress, and I think that following that the American people have a right to know as much information as is possible that can come from the report.
BIANNA GOLODRYGA: Rod Rosenstein this week made headlines when he said that transparency doesn't always work best when it comes to government revelations. Do you support what he said and do you think that he was alluding to the report not being seen by the public or even Congress?
ALEX WAGNER: Mr. McCabe, the country watched Michael Cohen testify to Congress, congressional oversight, this week. Did you find him a credible witness?
MCCABE: Well, Mr. Cohen clearly has some significant credibility problems. I mean, it's not often that you hear a witness testify who's pled guilty to lying to Congress. But it's I think important to note, Alex, that prosecutors and agents have a lot of experience working with witnesses that have credibility problems. And the way that you rehabilitate those witnesses is you let them tell their story, but then you back that story up with corroborating information, corroborating evidence.
The thing I found fascinating by Michael Cohen's statements was the amount of exactly that sort of corroborating information that he referred to and maybe revealed in his testimony. There is a lot -- there's a lot there. I wouldn't dismiss Mr. Cohen as a witness who would be, you know, unhelpful to any sort of prosecutorial efforts simply by virtue of his guilty plea in his case.
DICKERSON: You write in the book that the President is a threat to the nation. Part of what you identify as his lack of candor. What do you mean by that?
GOLODRYGA: Let me ask you about the news overnight. That the President reportedly intervened on behalf of Jared Kushner to get him a top-secret security clearance. Did you know about this, given the fact that the FBI conducts background checks. And how unusual is it for a president to intervene on behalf of somebody?
GOLODRYGA: Recruitment is down at the FBI over the past ten years, specifically over the past few years for top special agents. How much of any of that do you attribute to the President constantly attacking the FBI?
MCCABE: I can't -- I don't have the facts and figures to support that. But I mean, it's undeniable. It doesn't help.
WAGNER: As we talk about reliability and reliable narrators, it is important to bring up that the Inspector General report that justified your firing from the FBI says you, quote, “lacked candor on four separate occasions. What does that mean? Did you lie? And should the American public believe what you have to say in terms of your assessment of the landscape?
MCCABE: They should. They should. I would love to sort through that report with you. I disagree with the conclusions contained therein. What I can tell you, Alex, is I never deliberately misled anyone. Not in the accounts that they relate in the report, and not in any others. I'm very proud of the 21 years I spent serving in the FBI, serving this nation.
I did see with an absolutely unblemished record until the point at which the president decided to start attacking me publicly. So I have deep disagreements with that report. I would ask the American people to judge me on the work that I've done over the course of
WAGNER: Really quickly, do you think the President is going to finish his term?
MCCABE: I think that the overwhelming likelihood is that he will.