Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe argued Friday that the special counsel’s report on President Biden’s retention of classified documents while vice president has “nauseating similarities” with findings from the agency’s 2016 investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails.
While special counsel Robert Hur’s 388-page report, released Thursday, found Biden “willfully” kept the documents after leaving the White House, no charges were brought against the president. Hur, in his release, remarked that Biden is “a sympathetic, well-meaning, elderly man with a poor memory,” which has drawn scrutiny from Democrats and the White House.
In an interview with CNN, McCabe said Hur — who was appointed by former President Trump — was trying to please Biden’s critics.
McCabe said that Hur was likely trying to please both Biden’s allies, by not pressing charges, and critics, by finding he mishandled the documents.
“It really felt like it was another instance of a very high-profile investigator who was coming out with a conclusion that he likely knew would not be accepted or embraced by many people and kind of attempting to even out the scales,” the former FBI official said.
“In other words, to play to the sort of … the segment of the audience that was going to be frustrated by the fact that he concluded not to pursue charges,” he added. “That’s what it felt like to me.”
The same thing happened in July 2016, McCabe suggested, when then-FBI Director James Comey found evidence that Clinton was “extremely careless” with classified emails on a private server but said her actions were not enough to merit an indictment — ultimately opening the door for her to be the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee.
“I think where we step far over the line and made a mistake was in Jim’s rhetoric clearly criticizing Hillary Clinton but of course not recommending that she be charged,” McCabe said Friday. “The use of those terms was very likely a violation of [Department of Justice] policy, which says you don’t say bad things about someone you say you’re not going to charge.”
Comparisons have also been made between Clinton and Trump, who is facing 40 charges centered on the mishandling of classified records and attempts to obstruct the government from retrieving them after he left the White House, but both have denounced the parallel.
On Friday, speaking to members of the National Rifle Association in Pennsylvania, the former president argued that if Biden — and Clinton by proxy — weren’t charged, he shouldn’t be either.