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Opinion
Timothy L. O'Brien

Trump, McCabe and the Justice Department Go to War

Deep State believers see evil forces at work. Other folks see the rule of law. You decide.

Andrew McCabe, then acting director of the FBI.

Andrew McCabe, then acting director of the FBI.

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Andrew McCabe, who briefly served as acting director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the tumultuous months in 2017 after President Donald Trump fired James Comey, is making the rounds to promote his new book, “The Threat.”

Senior law enforcement officials putting their names to sensitive details of ongoing investigations — particularly ones as consequential and fraught as the current examination of the president’s intersection with Russia — is problematic. Going on tour is doubly ticklish. If G-Men are really dedicated to ensuring that justice is served and investigations are sacrosanct, then the public might expect them to remain behind the scenes until a probe runs its course.

Comey shattered those expectations by unlocking the riches and attention federal investigators can snare from a big book deal in the Trump era, when reputations, facts, the rule of law and the Constitution are all in play. McCabe won’t be the last law enforcement official to follow in Comey’s troubling footsteps. Yet he also isn’t a polarizing and elusive spectacle like Comey; he comes across as a dedicated bureaucrat who didn’t seek the limelight until circumstances compelled him. But he’s touring, which makes him a piñata for critics of the Justice Department and Special Counsel Robert Mueller — especially when controversy already trails him.