As the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election continues, we see yet another potential issue; this time, it appears that the investigators, the acting FBI director at that, may have personal conflicts of interest that could taint the integrity of the investigation.
The story was revealed by Sara Carter and John Solomon of Circa. They revealed that Senator Chuck Grassley is demanding the DOJ Inspector General investigate the acting FBI director for potential conflict of interest violations.
Grassley’s request, sent Thursday night, follows new revelations that the nation’s top cop is the subject of three federal inquires ranging from sexual discrimination to political conflicts of interest, all of which were ongoing during the FBI’s probe into Russian election tampering that roiled the Trump administration.
The inspector general needs to investigate McCabe and the “FBI’s handling of recent politically charged investigations,” Grassley wrote. The inspector general has the authority to conduct criminal or administrative investigations into FBI and Justice officials’ conduct.
This is not the first time the acting FBI boss has come under scrutiny for a conflict of interest violation. Circa also revealed that McCabe was engaging in political campaigning for his wife in a Virginia state senate race in 2015, which the U.S. Office of Special Counsel is investigating.
The suspicion is that McCabe violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits certain federal employees, including the FBI, from engaging in political campaign activity. The Act is much stricter on FBI employees than other federal employees though, and that is completely understandable (given that they sometimes have to investigate political leaders).
The case that McCabe now has to fight involves former National Security Advisor Lt. Gen Michael Flynn.
The Chairman is also asking the Inspector General to investigate the ongoing sexual discrimination lawsuit filed by former FBI Special Agent Robyn Gritz, which named McCabe and other FBI officials, who she accused of impeding her work within the bureau.
Gritz’s complaint was supported by then former Defense Intelligence Agency director Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn. Flynn, who went on to become President Trump’s National Security Advisor, was subsequently fired after highly classified information regarding a conversation he had with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyac was leaked to the media.
Grassley is concerned that McCabe’s impartiality may be affected when Flynn was a possibly hostile witness against the FBI and McCabe himself in a separate investigation.
“Despite Flynn’s role in the open complaint against McCabe, McCabe still worked on the FBI’s investigation into Flynn’s communications with Russian officials,” Grassley said in the letter. “Under Justice Department protocol, employees are advised to recuse from investigations if their involvement would create even the appearance of conflict. The Justice Department Inspector General is reviewing actions by the FBI and Justice Department in the lead up to the 2016 election, including whether McCabe should have been recused from participating in certain investigative matters.”
Grassley wrote to the Deputy A.G. asking about documents related to recusal earlier this week. He noted that there was recusal and ethical protocol applied to McCabe because of the information presented, but the one who signed off on the authority of the recusal memo was McCabe himself.
Grassley also noted that much of the memo was redacted, and a full picture could not be obtained. Is that suspicious, or is it just me?
The question now, is does the acting FBI director need to recuse himself from presiding over the Russia investigation because of the plausible conflict of interest? Not to mention the fact that McCabe is under investigation for a potential violation of the Hatch Act, it seems that something is very amiss in the acting FBI director’s discretion, going all the way back to 2015 (that is, what we have on record at least).
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