A notable congressional ally of Donald Trump has plans to quiz Attorney General Bill Barr about his department’s decision to drop the criminal probe into former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
Georgia Rep. Doug Collins (R) will ask Barr about the matter when the attorney general testifies to Congress next month about ongoing controversies regarding the DOJ, the Washington Examiner reported. Trump has made no secret of his anger at the fact that his foes, including McCabe, will not face criminal penalties for the same crimes as his allies, notably Roger Stone.
Collins to ask about McCabe case
Prosecutors dropped the investigation into McCabe for lying about leaks to the media earlier this month, just days after controversy exploded over the trial of Roger Stone, a longtime friend of Trump’s. Many saw the McCabe development as proof of a double standard, particularly as Stone had initially faced up to nine years in prison for lying and witness tampering before Barr intervened to lighten his punishment.
Barr will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31 about his intervention in the Stone case — which enraged the left and revived longtime accusations of a conspiracy between Trump and Barr to defraud the public — and other routine complaints from liberals about Barr, who Democrats have likened to Trump’s henchman. Collins said that he will press Barr about the dropped investigation of McCabe at that hearing as well as Barr’s ongoing probe of the origins of the Trump–Russia investigation.
“Why like Andrew McCabe was not charged?” Collins asked. “Someone who is an admitted liar. Someone who was let go from his job. The American people, the average Joe who gets up in the morning and says if I lie to the authorities, if I lie to the police, something is going to happen to me.”
Double standard at issue
President Trump has continually raged against the perceived unfairness of Stone’s punishment for obstruction or process crimes, especially when compared with the light rebukes that McCabe, James Comey, and other Democrat-connected figures have suffered for similar acts. The president has not said whether he’ll pardon Stone, but he has been clear that he is angry about what he sees as a slanted justice system that unfairly targets Republicans.
“OH, I see, but so did Comey (and he also leaked classified information, for which almost everyone, other than Crooked Hillary Clinton, goes to jail for a long time), and so did Andy McCabe, who also lied to the FBI! FAIRNESS?” he tweeted last week.
Comey was rebuked last year by the DOJ’s internal watchdog for leaking memos of his conversations with Trump to the media to spark a special counsel probe, but he was never charged. Trump and his allies have accused Comey, McCabe and others of conspiring against Trump to overthrow him.
“Where’s the investigation going forward on how we can make sure this doesn’t happen again?” Collins said.
Durham probe also on agenda
Another explosive watchdog report on abuse of the FISA process last year faulted the FBI with repeatedly lying about a lack of evidence to justify spying on Carter Page, a Trump campaign member, sparking promises of reform to the FISA process from Barr. The attorney general is also overseeing a criminal investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, which Trump has often decried as a “witch hunt.” Collins said that he would press Barr about U.S. Attorney John Durham’s ongoing probe of the Russia investigation and the aforementioned pledge of FISA reform.
Tensions have been at a high point recently between Trump and Barr over the president’s running commentary on a number of politically sensitive DOJ cases. Barr pleaded with the president to control his tweeting habits, saying the president’s remarks were making it “impossible” for him to do his job, but Trump has shown no commitment to doing so.
Collins was recently floated to be the permanent Director of National Intelligence, but he declined the post. He is widely seen as a Trump loyalist, making his potential appointment another source of alarm for the liberal media and Democrats.
“I think those are the things that we’re looking for on our side from Bill Barr. Of course the Democrats are just gonna try to trash Bill Barr as someone who is protecting the president, and I think they’re going to find out is that Bill Barr is doing his job,” Collins said.