The testimony of Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday grabbed headlines in his direct contradiction of the White House claim that former FBI Director James Comey has lost the support of career agents. McCabe made clear that the rank and file were (and remain) entirely supportive of Comey. However, I thought the most interesting aspect of the hearing was a brief discussion of the 2016 decision not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. McCabe, who is viewed by many Republicans as having problematic links to the Clinton camp (through his wife who ran for office with their financial support), said that the failure to indict Clinton produced “vocal” opposition from the agents investigating her conduct.
McCabe stated “I think morale’s always been good, but there were folks within our agency that were frustrated with the outcome of the Hillary Clinton case and some of those folks were very vocal about those concerns.”
There have been rumors for months that agents wanted the Clinton case referred to a grand jury but that high-ranking Justice Department officials blocked the case from going forward. Indeed, much of the criticism of Comey was that he detailed violations by Clinton but did not push for those violations to be given to a grand jury.
It was interesting to see the comment made in a hearing in the wake of the Comey termination. After all, this would seem precisely the type of commentary that drew such vehement opposition to Comey when he indicated that Clinton committed violations of federal law. Here McCabe is saying that agents clearly viewed her as guilty and worthy of criminal charges. I have great misgivings about such public comments from prosecutors or investigators about an individuals who was not in fact charged. It is unfair to Clinton to opt not to prosecute but then imply that she is guilty in public comments.
Do you think that it is appropriate to say that many in your department wanted to prosecute someone after the conclusion of an investigation without a referral, let alone an indictment?