A couple of days ago we noted that, according to a report from Circa, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe may have made a serious error by refusing to recuse himself from the Michael Flynn investigation. As it turns out, per court documents reviewed by Circa, McCabe may have harbored a personal vendetta against Flynn after he intervening on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination. Apparently the lack of inter-agency camaraderie didn't sit well with McCabe as other FBI agents subsequently confirmed that his complete disdain for Fylnn was readily apparent.
But, according to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), McCabe's apparent conflict of interest in the Flynn investigation may not be his only issue these days as he's also the subject of an ongoing investigation for an alleged violation of the Hatch Act for illegally campaigning in his wife's Virginia Senate race. Per Circa:
Gritz also filed a complaint against McCabe with the main federal whistleblower agency in April, alleging social media photos she found show he campaigned for his wife’s Virginia state senate race in violation of the Hatch Act.
FBI employees are held to a higher standard than other federal workers under the Hatch Act and may not “endorse or oppose a candidate for partisan political office or a candidate for political party office in a political advertisement, broadcast, campaign literature, or similar material if such endorsement or opposition is done in concert with a candidate, political party, or partisan political group.”
The OSC told Circa that complaint is still being actively investigated.
For those who aren't familiar, this is the same Senate race in which McCabe's wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her campaign. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary. All of which was apparently overlooked when former FBI Director James Comey allowed McCabe to participate in the investigation of Hillary's email scandal.
And just when you thought McCabe's issues couldn't get much worse, Circa notes that the Justice Department Inspector General is also investigating allegations from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley that McCabe may not have properly disclosed campaign payments to his wife on his ethics report.
Perhaps exploiting your position and power to pursue a personal vendetta isn't the best idea when you're hiding a whole collection of skeletons in your closet? You may be good but you're no Clinton, Mr. McCabe.
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For those who missed it, here is our original note on McCabe's sexual discrimination case:
Andrew McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the FBI. His position as Deputy Director of the FBI came under intense scrutiny during the Clinton email investigation after it came to light that his wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her Senate campaign. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary. But sure, no reason to be wary the McCabe was put in charge of supervising that particular investigation.
But now, at least according to a new report from Circa, McCabe may have other conflicts, including a personal vendetta against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, that have not yet been disclosed. According to Circa, Flynn apparently enraged McCabe a few years back after he intervened on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination.
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
The FBI sought to block Flynn’s support for the agent, asking a federal administrative law judge in May 2014 to keep Flynn and others from becoming a witness in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) case, memos obtained by Circa show. Two years later, the FBI opened its inquiry of Flynn.
The EEOC case, which is still pending, was serious enough to require McCabe to submit to a sworn statement to investigators, the documents show.
According to anonymous sources within the FBI (and you know how we feel about those...so take these comments with a heaping mound of salt), Circa notes that several field agents had witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn and one agent even became uncomfortable enough to consult an attorney after the Flynn investigation ramped up.
Three FBI employees told Circa they personally witnessed McCabe make disparaging remarks about Flynn before and during the time the retired Army general emerged as a figure in the Russia case.
The bureau employees, who spoke only on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution, said they did not know the reason for McCabe’s displeasure with Flynn, but that it made them uncomfortable as the Russia probe began to unfold and pressure built to investigate Flynn. One employee even consulted a private lawyer.
“As far as the troops in the field, the vast-majority were disgusted with the Russia decision, but that was McCabe driving the result that eventually led [former FBI Director James] Comey to make the decision,” said a senior federal law enforcement official, with direct knowledge of the investigation.
“The Flynn leaks were nothing short of political,” one FBI employee said, noting the specific contents of the conversation were known by only a handful of government officials when they leaked. “The leaks appeared to be targeted to take Flynn out.”
But would McCabe really launch an investigation out of retaliation? Well, it seems that his own testimony in the sexual discrimination lawsuit would suggest he did just that against Gritz.
But McCabe’s sworn statement offered evidence that actually supported Gritz’s claim of retaliation and discrimination, recounting a conversation on June 19, 2012 in which he authorized the OPR investigation of Gritz after one of his deputies told him Gritz was about to file an EEO complaint, his sworn statement shows.
“I first learned of the issues that led to Ms. Gritz’s current OPR investigation during a telephone call with Deputy Assistant Director (DAD) Jennifer Ley on June 19, 2012,” McCabe testified.
“I recalled that during the course of our conversation DAD Ley mentioned to me that Ms. Gritz had filed or intended to file an EEO complaint against her immediate supervisor.”
The very next day, the FBI initiated the OPR investigation of Gritz, according to evidence in the FBI’s official personnel files. FBI records support McCabe’s version of events, showing Gritz had contacted FBI EEO officials in mid-June before the OPR probe was initiated, then filed her formal complaint a few weeks later. The FBI ‘s official report of investigation on Gritz’s EEO complaint, which absolved the FBI of any discrimination, omitted any mention that McCabe had been aware of the EEO complaint before the bureau filed its OPR action against Gritz.
Clearly McCabe's reputation was on the line, so it's not terribly surprising that he would take offense to Flynn providing the following supportive comments in favor of Gritz:
“SSA Gritz was well-known, liked and respected in the military counter-terrorism community for her energy, commitment and professional capacity, and over the years worked in several interagency groups on counter-terrorism targeting initiatives,” Flynn wrote May 9, 2014.
At the time, Flynn was an Army lieutenant general and the chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and he put his letter on official agency stationary to be submitted in Gritz’s case.
As soon as Gritz revealed to the FBI that Flynn and other top federal figures had written letters to support her case and likely would be called as witnesses, the bureau dispatched a lawyer to try to block the evidence from being included in the EEO case, documents show.
In a brief interview this weekend, Gritz said she was mortified to think that her request to Flynn to help with her EEOC case in any way affected his relationship with the FBI or his current status as someone under investigation in the Russia case.
“Flynn was the first leader to defend me,” said Gritz. “He forwarded a letter to the FBI and I personally think that Comey did not receive it. McCabe knew Flynn and I were friends. I felt that from the beginning it was an issue.”
So what say you? More fake news or is another recusal in order on the "Russian collusion" investigation?