And now, the McCabe memos

The Comey memos have figured prominently in the events leading to the appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel to continue the counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign originated by the Obama administration in March 2016 or so. Moving on to fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, today’s New York Times introduces the McCabe memos. In its story today the Times continues to flog the theory that President Trump may have committed some offense by firing James Comey as FBI Director, or that Mueller thinks this is within his charter.

McCabe isn’t a great witness, but the McCabe memos add to the evidence suggesting that Rod Rosenstein is or should be a prominent witness in the investigation for which Rosenstein himself has supervisory responsibility. The Times reports: “Mr. Rosenstein has consulted departmental ethics advisers about whether to recuse himself from the Russia investigation and has not done so.” I find that hard to understand. What did the advisers say? I’d like to know.

The story by Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman and Michael S. Schmidt continues a genre that the Times has pioneered in the Trump era. It does not appear to be based on the reporters’ review of the memos in issue. I don’t think the story includes a quotation from any memo. Rather, the story appears to be based on interviews with someone or other who discussed the memos with the Times “on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the matters.”

So far as I can tell, the Times reporters themselves haven’t read a single memo. Their story is yet another of the Times’s peculiar as-told-to-us stories and as-read-to-us stories by sources with apparent if unstated agendas. These gauzy stories distinguish the Times’s continuing efforts to assist in the engineering of the removal of Trump from office.

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