It may be the season of goodwill, but it doesn’t look like President Donald Trump received the memo. As America eases into the Christmas holiday, Trump took to his Twitter account to launch yet another scathing attack on the leadership of the FBI. Once upon a time, in a land far away, it would have been unthinkable for the U.S. president to attack his own law enforcement and security agencies. All that changed when Donald Trump took to the campaign trail that eventually handed him the keys to the White House.
During Trump’s election campaign, he made much of the FBI’s investigation into the Hillary Clinton email scandal. He used the investigation as the means to hand Clinton her “crooked Hillary” moniker but was fiercely critical of the FBI when they did not bring charges against Clinton. Trump was ecstatic when former FBI director James Comey announced that he was reopening the Clinton investigation just days before the election. In fact, many believe that Comey’s decision was the straw that broke people’s trust in Clinton and won the election for Trump.
At that point in time, few would have believed that Trump would fire Comey just a few months later. Comey and the FBI were looking into allegations of illegal contacts between Trump’s election campaign and Russia. Comey told a Congressional committee that President Trump had asked him to back off the investigation into contacts between Mike Flynn and Russian officials.
That decision led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and that’s when Trump’s troubles with the FBI really began. As the Mueller investigation began to indict members of Trump’s election campaign team, the operation to discredit Mueller and the FBI entered a new phase.
In recent weeks President Trump has repeatedly publicly attacked the FBI, saying that the Bureau was “in tatters,” and claiming that the Mueller investigation is a “politically motivated witch-hunt.” As reported by CNN, some Republicans are desperate to question the credibility of the Mueller investigation, and Trump’s latest attacks on the FBI do exactly that.
On this occasion, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was Trump’s primary target. The clear implication is that McCabe received money from Clinton supporters and therefore he is politically compromised. Of course, whilst Trump’s implication is clear it doesn’t tell the whole story. As reported by the Huffington Post, McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, received political donations from Clinton supporters whilst she was running for the Virginia state senate.
Andrew McCabe reportedly acted entirely correctly by reporting the donations to the FBI’s ethics department. In a second tweet, President Trump appeared to issue a veiled threat to Andrew McCabe. Trump said that McCabe “is racing against the clock to retire with full benefits.”
As reported by Politico, President Trump is incorrect on all front’s. McCabe was not “in charge” of the Clinton email investigation. Whilst he did have a degree of oversight, the investigation was under the leadership of James Comey. As a career civil servant, McCabe cannot be fired or have his benefits removed by Trump. McCabe is apparently set to retire next March, but at the end of his service, not because he is being pushed out amid claims of political bias.
There can be no doubt that President Trump and the Republicans would love to see the end of the Mueller investigation. It is one of several issues that have clearly affected Donald Trump’s approval rating, which according to Newsweek, shows him to be the most unpopular president of all time.