NPR’s Morning Edition on Monday split its Andrew McCabe interview into two segments. On the home page they were promoting Russiagate: “Andrew McCabe, Ex-FBI Deputy, Describes ‘Remarkable’ Number Of Trump-Russia Contacts.” On air, that segment never mentioned his lying under oath to the FBI. There was a second segment simply titled “Andrew McCabe Discusses His Firing.” McCabe’s answers were often refusals to answer, which Inskeep spun as “exceptionally careful.” Kudos to NPR for trying to explore it, briefly.
STEVE INSKEEP: At what point did it become apparent to you that you were under investigation?
MCCABE: That’s a really complicated question, Steve. And I’m afraid it’s one that I’m not going to be able to answer for you because of the current legal matters that are still underway.
INSKEEP: You’re not going to give me a date. I guess we can note there is an inspector general’s report that said that in 2017, people within the bureau began asking questions of you about your interactions with the media, what disclosures of information you would authorize to The Wall Street Journal.
INSKEEP: What can you say about the questions you were asked and the answers you gave?
MCCABE: I have many things that I would like to say about the conclusions and the recommendations of the IG report. And I can’t go through each one of those points with you today because of the current ongoing legal issues and the civil lawsuit that I will be bringing against the Department of Justice. But I will say this. I, at no time, ever intentionally misled the FBI Inspection Division, the Office of Inspector General or – ever – any director of the FBI – not ever. This is not an investigative report like any I have ever seen. An investigative report is a clear and unbiased presentation of all the evidence, and this is none of that.
INSKEEP: You think it was biased.
MCCABE: I do. I do.
INSKEEP: Why would it be biased against you?
MCCABE: I do. Well, I think that’s pretty clear, Steve. I think the president has a long and well-established history of attacking the people who say things he doesn’t like.
INSKEEP: But this was an independent inspector general, right?
MCCABE: It’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be. I don’t believe they were independent or fair in the process of this investigation or in its result.
Later in the interview McCabe really laid into inspector general Michael Horowitz as a cog in a Trump conspiracy: “I completely disagree with the conclusions in the assessments in that report. It’s part, I think, of a larger strategy on the part of the president to save himself by attacking those people around him who present him with the truth that he does not like.”
Inskeep could have mentioned Horowitz was appointed by Obama and confirmed in 2012.
INSKEEP: The essence of their case against you is that you had authorized information to be leaked to The Wall Street Journal. You were asked about it three times under oath and sometimes recorded. And the first two times, you either denied giving the information or gave the sense that you didn’t know where the information had coming – or come from.
MCCABE: Yeah. And I – and Steve, it’s a well-formed question but not one that I can answer because of the legal issues that I’m currently still handling.
INSKEEP: One more along those lines – you said, I never intentionally misled anyone. Do you, then, acknowledge that, without intent, you made statements that misled people?
MCCABE: I’m not acknowledging anything beyond what I’ve already told you.
If this seemed like tough (or at least specific) questioning, NPR softened up at the end. Legal reporter Carrie Johnson asked “How much money did you lose when you were fired 26 hours before your pension was supposed to vest?”
Inskeep concluded with this sugary inquiry on McCabe’s integrity:
INSKEEP: Having had this two-decade love affair — whatever it is — with the FBI, do you believe that you personally upheld the integrity at the highest standards of the FBI?
MCCABE: I do. That was certainly my intention. You know, I lived my life professionally and personally, privately under that – those incredibly lofty goals of fidelity, bravery and integrity.