“A federal judge compared White House involvement in an investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to a “banana republic,” and accused people “at the top” of undermining the “integrity” of the judicial process, new documents revealed Friday.
The chilling statements were disclosed in records obtained by the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington in a lawsuit. The attack by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton on White House pressure emerged amid mounting controversy over Attorney General William Barr’s manipulation of criminal cases involving allies of President Donald Trump or those he perceives as enemies.
The Justice Department announced Friday that it wasn’t pursuing any criminal charges against McCabe — a frequent target of Trump’s — for allegedly misleading investigators about a leak to the media concerning an FBI probe into the Clinton Foundation.
Walton, who was appointed to the bench by President George W. Bush and serves in the District of Columbia, chided DOJ prosecutors in September for repeated delays in deciding whether to bring charges against McCabe and keeping him under a cloud of suspicion, which he suspected served White House interests.
“I fully appreciate the complexity of the assessment, especially — unfortunately, to be candid — in light of the way by the White House, which I don’t think top executive officers should be doing,” he said, according to a transcript of a discussion when prosecutors requested yet another delay.
“I don’t think people like the fact that you got somebody at the top basically trying to dictate whether somebody should be prosecuted. I just think it’s a banana republic when we go down that road and we have those type of statements being made that are conceivably … influencing the ultimate decision,” Walton said. “I think there are a lot of people on the outside who perceive that there is undue, inappropriate pressure being brought to bear.” (Read more: Huffington Post, 2/14/2020) (Archive)