If ABC’s hit piece against Jeff Sessions was meant to rehabilitate Andrew McCabe’s credibility, it failed. ABC might’ve helped McCabe if it hadn’t written “During his confirmation in January 2017, Sessions told the Senate committee that he had not been in contact with anyone connected to the Russian government about the 2016 election.”

Saying that that’s a shortcut through the truth is understatement. Here’s what was actually said:

Sen. Al Franken: CNN has just published a story and I’m telling you this about a news story that’s just been published. I’m not expecting you to know whether or not it’s true or not. But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, “Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say quote, “There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”

Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?

Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have — did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.

First, Sen. Franken either isn’t too bright or he’s exceptionally dishonest. (BTW, I can make a strong case either direction.) Then-Sen. Sessions said that he didn’t “have communications with the Russians” as a Trump campaign surrogate. As a US senator sitting on the Senate Armed Services Committee, it would’ve been routine for him to meet with Russian ambassadors or government officials.

The context is important because “Sen. Patrick Leahy, (D-VT), and then-Sen. Al Franken, (D-MN), wrote a letter in March 2017 to the FBI urging agents to investigate ‘all contacts’ Sessions may have had with Russians, and ‘whether any laws were broken in the course of those contacts or in any subsequent discussion of whether they occurred.'” Also important in terms of context is the fact that “McCabe authorized the criminal inquiry.”

The ABC article continues, saying “It is a federal crime for anyone to knowingly provide false information to Congress – or to a federal law enforcement agency. No charges have been announced against McCabe, and there’s no indication that the FBI has recommended he be charged.”

It’s impossible at this point to know whether charges will be brought against McCabe. However, Christopher Wray told NBC that “I’m committed to doing things objectively and independently and by the book. I think that has to extend not just to our investigations, our intelligence analysis, but it also has to expand to personnel decisions and disciplinary decisions.”

When asked specifically about the timing, Wray reiterated that the FBI followed its normal process. “I want to be careful what I can say about the process,” he said. “But I will tell you that my commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that, most importantly, it is not based on political and partisan influence, is something I am utterly unyielding on.”

The thought that Jeff Sessions terminated McCabe out of spite is understandable but it’s completely wrong.

It’s fair to say that ABC’s hit piece attempted to help Mr. McCabe. It’s fair to say, too, that Jeff Sessions followed the proper protocols in determining whether Mr. McCabe should be terminated.

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