The Clinton crew gave more than $675,000 to the wife of the deputy director of the FBI.”
Trump says the “Clinton crew,” but he isn’t talking about Clinton or anyone in Clinton’s campaign. He is talking about Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime friend and supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton. A political action committee controlled by McAuliffe and the Virginia Democratic Party combined donated more than $675,000 to Dr. Jill McCabe, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Virginia Senate in 2015.
McAuliffe’s PAC, Common Good VA, made other large donations in 2015: $803,500 to state Senate candidate Jeremy McPike, who won his election, and $781,500 to Daniel Gecker, who lost. The big donations were part of an all-out effort by the Democratic governor to help his party gain control of the Senate in the November 2015 elections. That effort failed, and the makeup of the Senate remained unchanged with the Republicans holding a narrow 21 to 19 advantage.
Trump focuses on the donations to McCabe, because she is the wife of Andrew McCabe, who at the time of the donations was either head of the FBI field office in Washington, D.C., or assistant deputy director of the FBI. Andrew McCabe was not involved in the FBI investigation of Clinton’s emails when his wife was running for office. He was promoted to deputy director in February 2016, and at that time he assumed “an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails,” according to a statement from an FBI spokesman.
There is no evidence that Clinton had any knowledge of the donations or that they were made to influence the FBI investigation of her handling of classified information. (See “Clinton’s Connection to FBI Official.”)
Trump assembles — or rather disassembles — these half-truths and innuendos to reach his shaky conclusion that “this is bigger than Watergate.” That’s his opinion, but at least one person who was involved in Watergate disagrees.
John Dean, who served as White House counsel to Nixon from 1970 to 1973. wrote an op-ed in the New York Times calling the Watergate comparison “nonsense.”
“Only someone who knows nothing about the law, and the darkest moment of our recent political history, would see a parallel between Nixon’s crimes and Mrs. Clinton’s mistakes,” Dean said, noting that “some four dozen Nixon aides and associates were convicted of or pleaded guilty to criminal misconduct, including me.”