The GOP will never stop fucking that Andy McCabe chicken. We're all supposed to move on from an attempted coup that happened this year, but they'll be howling about the Deep State Justice Department sticking wiretaps in Trump's ass until the end of time. To wit, Sen. Chuck Grassley's questioning of Attorney General Merrick Garland in today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

While Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Josh Hawley were busy shrieking melodramatically about the evils of protecting school board members from domestic terrorists, Grassley was having a temper tantrum about the recent news that the DOJ settled the former acting FBI director's wrongful termination lawsuit and agreed to pay McCabe's back pension and legal bills.


After some inchoate shouting about McCabe being a damn dirty liar, Grassley demanded an explanation from Garland for the settlement.

"Under your leadership, instead of punishing him, the Department reinstated his retirement, expunged his records, as part of the settlement he will reportedly receive $200,000 in retirement back pay, and his attorney will reportedly receive $500,000 in legal fees. So, it seems to me, that that's beyond incredible. So General Garland, did you authorize the McCain [sic] settlement, and if not, who did?" he barked.

It's worth stopping here for just a moment to review the record. Under Bill Barr, the Justice Department moved heaven and earth to try to LOCK HER UP this poor guy, but their case was shit, and it's pretty clear the grand jury refused to return an indictment. Because you can get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich, but you can't get it to indict Andy McCabe. And the DOJ only tapped out and acknowledged this reality after US District Judge Reggie Walton told them to shit or get off the pot, because they couldn't cite the ongoing grand jury investigation forever as justification to evade discovery in a CREW FOIA suit.

"This is not a hard case," Judge Walton said in 2019. "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."

McCabe's lawsuit alleged that the DOJ violated its own procedures when Jefferson "Butterbeans" Session fired him at 10 p.m. on his last day of work, long after the close of business, and after the government had docked him one day's leave so he couldn't retire with full benefits. Even disregarding Trump's tweets exhorting the DOJ to hurry up and fire McCabe before he could retire with his pension — "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!" — the record was replete with evidence that the DOJ violated its own procedures and civil service protections to process McCabe's termination in time to screw him out of his pension.

In short, this case was a total loser, and the DOJ was going to wind up going through some extremely embarrassing discovery before getting spanked on the other side, which is exactly what Garland told Grassley.

"Senator, the McCabe settlement was the recommendation of the career lawyers litigating that case based on their prospects of success in the case," Garland answered, going on to point out that the IG report had diddly squat to do with whether the DOJ violated the civil service protections McCabe was entitled to by law.

"The litigators concluded that we needed to settle the case because of the likelihood of loss on the merits of that claim."

But Grassley is wily, if less prone to screeching than his younger colleagues. "Short follow up," he deadpanned. "Do you agree with the taxpayer picking up a multi-million bill for someone that lied under oath to government officials?" Because it's Merrick Garland's job to be real mad about stuff, we guess.

But Garland mildly reminded the Senator that spending six more months litigating this turkey as the meter ticked up on McCabe's tab at Arnold & Porter would cost the taxpayers a whole hell of a lot more than half a million dollars. And facts don't care about your feelings.

Well, okay, he didn't say that last bit. But he could have, because Grassley had already moved on to an important inquiry about Hunter Biden and gun safety, managing to make the hearing even stupider. So, great job Iowa, you should definitely send this guy back to Congress for another six years.

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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