Trump and the art of self-sabotage
A delicate week for democracy begins in the United States after the President staged one of the most alarming episodes of his government.
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On Friday, the Department of Justice, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced the dismissal of former Deputy Director General of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, after months of media attacks by the Trump Administration.
As reported by Vox, McCabe was fired "just 26 hours before his formal retirement, a move that could cost him his federal pension," and the announcement was made by Sessions, who argued that the Department of Justice's Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, would have determined that in 2016 "McCabe inappropriately allowed two senior officials to speak with reporters about his decision to open a case against the Clinton Foundation."
The statement issued by Sessions, and published by Reuters, extended the argument asserting the existence of "allegations of misconduct on the part of Andrew McCabe" that were processed by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of the FBI.
In the face of the accusations, McCabe had announced his resignation last January - partly also because of President Trump's attacks on him - but the unexpected dismissal of Sessions would have stifled his hopes of waiting for the date of his retirement, after 21 years of service.
While up to that point everything could have happened as a regular procedure - since according to Bloomberg, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions was following the recommendations of senior career Justice Department lawyers” - it was the presidential answers on Twitter that transformed the whole issue in a thorny political event.
"Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hardworking men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy”, he wrote.
The president cleared any doubts about the political bias of McCabe's dismissal, asserting that, "Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”
As Bloomberg points out, "Donald Trump has a gift for self-sabotage," especially when the investigation of special lawyer Robert Mueller gets closer and closer to his office, and Sessions' attempts to clear his path are often boycotted by the same unbridled rhetoric of the President in his social networks.
For his part, McCabe responded sharply to his dismissal through a statement (made public by NBC News), which not only highlighted his achievements and dedication to the Bureau but also condemned the accusations against him for political partisanship, ensuring that "nothing is further from the truth".
After explaining his version of what happened with the investigation around Hillary Clinton during the election year, McCabe said: "Looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.”
To leave no doubt, McCabe wrote: "I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey."
And like his colleague, McCabe will also play an important role after his dismissal.
As explained by CTV News, McCabe would have recorded all his interactions with the president through memos that have been sent directly to the office of special lawyer Robert Mueller.
“McCabe's memos include details of his own interactions with the president, according to a person with direct knowledge of the situation who wasn't authorized to discuss the notes publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. They also recount different conversations he had with Comey, who kept notes on meetings with Trump that unnerved him.”