- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 19, 2018

Former FBI Director James Comey defended then-Deputy Directory Andrew McCabe to President Trump, calling him a “pro,” according to Mr. Comey’s memos, which were submitted to Congress Thursday evening.

But Mr. Comey was also aware of the perception problem created by Mr. McCabe, whose wife was a candidate for office and accepted a campaign donation from a Hillary Clinton confidant at the same time the bureau was investigating Mrs. Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

“If he had to do it all over again, I’m sure he would urge his wife not run,” Mr. Comey told the president, according a series of memos he authored detailing their interactions.

That appears to indicate that even Mr. McCabe seemed to have an inkling of the conflict of interest created by his wife, Jill, receiving nearly half a million dollars from a group lead by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who chaired Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid. The donation was made in 2016 when Mrs. Clinton was under investigation by the FBI for her use of a private email server while Secretary of State.

But Mr. Comey stood up for his second-in-command, repeatedly assuring the president that Mr. McCabe would not let political biases influence him.

“I affirmed Andy’s professionalism and said the president would come to see and benefit from both,” Mr. Comey wrote.

Mr. Trump referenced the donation to Mr. McCabe’s wife on the campaign trail, using it as proof that the FBI and others were biased against him. When the president asked Mr. Comey if Mr. McCabe was OK after the attacks, the former FBI director said there wouldn’t be a problem.

Describing Mr. McCabe as “a pro,” Mr. Comey told the president FBI officials forgo their personal views when they “step into their bureau roles.”

The three GOP lawmakers who orchestrated the release of the memos, though, said they showed the opposite when it came to Mr. Comey.

“The memos show Comey was blind to biases within the FBI and had terrible judgment with respect to his deputy Andrew McCabe. On multiple occasions he, in his own words, defended the character of McCabe after President Trump questioned McCabe,” said Reps. Devin Nunes of California, Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, and Trey Gowdy of South Carolina.

Mr. McCabe was fired from the FBI last month after the Justice Department inspector general found that he had “lack of candor” and misled investigators on at least three occasions about who leaked information about another Clinton investigation to the press.

On Thursday, the inspector general referred Mr. McCabe to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for prosecution.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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