President Trump didn’t intend anything by asking the then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe for whom he voted in the 2016 election, according to Ronna Romney McDaniel.
The head of the Republican National Committee said on CNN’s “New Day,” “I think it’s just a conversation. I don’t think it intends, you know, all of these terrible things that people are trying to put forward.”
“I ask people who they vote for sometimes,” McDaniel continued. “I think it is just trying to get to know somebody.”
This doesn’t work well for Romney McDaniel because as we all know, asking anyone for whom they voted in the 2016 election is not a good way to get to know someone, unless you’re trying to start a war. It is one of the topics that is definitely off-limits as polite small talk. But in any case, the President is not some random person and the then-acting head of an agency that is investigating the President is also not some ransom person with whom McDaniel might be so foolish as to ask for whom they voted.
The Washington Post reported on Tuesday evening that not long after Trump had fired then FBI Director James Comey in what appears to be a politically motivated effort to squash Comey’s investigation into the Trump campaign and family’s possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 election, Trump brought McCabe to the Oval Office and asked him for whom he voted.
McCabe reportedly said he had not voted in the 2016 general election.
Jonathan Martin of the New York Times wrote that a Virginia source confirmed that McCabe did not vote in the 2016 general, but did vote in the Virginia Republican primary, where in Northern Virginia, Martin notes, Trump got “stomped.”
Va source sez McCabe indeed did not vote in the 2016 general.
But: He DID vote in GOP primary, where Trump got stomped in Northern Va
— Jonathan Martin (@jmartNYT) January 24, 2018
As the Russia investigation has gained traction, Trump has been putting his working hours efforts into derailing the investigation and impugning the motives of the people behind it in an effort to avoid and discredit the facts uncovered.
For instance, Trump has accused McCabe of being politically motivated because his wife received donations from a PAC run by former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.
And according to The Post, Trump vented his anger about these donations to McCabe, “Trump, the officials said, also vented his anger at McCabe over the several hundred thousand dollars in donations that his wife, a Democrat, received for her failed 2015 Virginia state Senate bid from a political action committee controlled by a close friend of Hillary Clinton.”
Which is to say, it doesn’t sound as if the question demanding to know for whom McCabe voted was just small talk, contrary to Romney McDaniel’s claims Wednesday on CNN.
“McCabe, who has spent more than two decades at the bureau, found the conversation with Trump ‘disturbing,’ said one former U.S. official,” The Post noted.
This is not the first or only time this President, only in office for a year now, has inappropriately demanded loyalty and tried to interfere in the Russia probe.
The political witch hunt going on, in which FBI agents are subject to being interrogated about their political leanings and having their text messages combed through just for doing their job, is unusual and incredibly alarming.
Former White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu pointed out that asking law enforcement officials how they voted in the last presidential election was a phrase that was never uttered in the Obama White House.
"Let's ask law enforcement officials how they voted in the last presidential election" – a phrase that was never uttered in the Obama White House https://t.co/MLni943gOU
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) January 24, 2018
In the boiled frog analogy, we’ve got the frog in the pot and the water is bubbling but the frog isn’t jumping out – that is to say, the mechanisms meant to protect us from such an assault on our democracy and institutions are not working, they’re not being triggered, people are not noticing that the water is boiling hot, so no one is reaching in to get the frogs and the frogs aren’t jumping out on their own.
It does not matter how McCabe voted. It’s frightening that we are even debating or mentioning his votes, or lack thereof, in public. His vote is his business, not the Trump administration’s business, not the media’s business, not the public’s business.
Republicans might only be seeking to destroy the Russia probe, a goal which in and of itself is also unpatriotic and alarming, but in the doing they are actively undermining democracy and the tenets of freedom.
It’s not hyperbole to say this is a huge moment in our history, and not a good one.