U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton slammed Justice Department officials for the way prosecutors handled potential criminal charges against Andrew McCabe, who is the former Deputy FBI Director. The federal judge claimed the uncertainty of prosecuting McCabe was unfair to him and to the public.
Judge Walton was appointed by former President George W. Bush and is currently presiding over the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. Records were filed by a watchdog group concerning McCabe being fired. The Justice Department claims the potential ongoing prosecution is just meant to stall the case from the documents to be handed over to the judge.
Judge Walton told the prosecution, “I was a good prosecutor for a long time. Deciding whether or not you’re going to charge someone with false statements or perjury is not that hard, factually or legally, maybe politically, but not factually or legally. Shouldn’t I know whether the wool was being pulled over my eyes? I do have concerns about whether I was being manipulated into stopping this case from moving forward.”
Justice Department attorney Justin Sandberg replied, “Your Honor, the wool was not being pulled over your eyes.” He tried to persuade the judge the claims were legit and was made behind closed doors and in secret.
For almost a year, the Justice Department stated the records were off-limits due to ongoing enforcement actions and investigations performed by the government. It was at their discretion on whether or not to file charges against McCabe for the alleged perjury to the FBI. The supposed lies were concerning the contacts inside the media before the 2016 elections.
McCabe was terminated from the FBI in 2018 after 20 years of service. It seems kind of fishy that he would just up and turn bad for no reason or motive. No indictments came about the criminal investigations of McCabe, and his attorney demanded clarification to no avail from prosecutors.
Could this case have been tainted from the beginning? And could the wrong information have been given to President Donald Trump knowing the president would have something to say about McCabe’s alleged perjury?. Judge Walton seems to think so, and the evidence is leaning more toward this being as set up by the same FBI who tried to throw President Trump under the bus when Comey was in charge.
After the news was released on the supposed findings of McCabe, President Trump took to Twitter, calling McCabe a “major sleazebag” and said McCabe being fired was “a great day for the FBI.” This was all information relayed to the president as McCabe was the bad guy. But was he really? There is a mystery about the status of the documents, and the prosecutors did not want Judge Walton pulling those documents.
The judge wanted an answer from Sandberg on what has changed since they last reviewed the information. Sandberg vaguely answered, “Obviously, you know that time has passed. There are various proceedings the government has to consider and various interests the government has to consider.”
Impatiently Walton stated, “Something must have precipitated the shift? I don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors as far as the… potential prosecution of Mr. McCabe is concerned… Something must’ve happened.”
The prosecution stumbled over their phrases as if they were caught in the act of their demise. Angrily, the judge immediately ordered Sandberg and a prosecutor J.P. Cooney to meet behind closed doors in a session to find out what changed in the case. The judge already foresaw the answers would be not up to his standards, even in a closed session.
Anne Weismann of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington stated during the confusion, “We believe we are, at a minimum, entitled to an explanation for why now, abruptly, the government has withdrawn its claim.”
She also noted something interesting to the case, “McCabe has filed a civil suit over his firing and is arguing that the Justice Department violated procedure in a dismissal that seems to have been aimed at terminating him just before he would have been eligible for retirement benefits.” FBI policy states a 30-day notice must be given before being terminated. If there is evidence of a crime, only seven days of notice are required.
Weismann stated, “If there’s no crime, the government faces a vulnerability in its decision to give Mr. McCabe only 7 days and not 30 days.” Up to date, there is no criminal probe for McCabe, so the FBI botched another one.