As a rule, I’ve been opposed to people with a political profile having their families dragged into the scrum. Part of the reason I continue to write under a pseudonym, when it has actually cost me money to do so, is that I’d rather my wife and kids be left alone and I know that won’t happen. In particular, because there is a rather grotesque double standard. While conservatives (to the best of my knowledge) placed Obama’s daughters off limits, that same courtesy was not afforded to either George Bush’s daughters or to Barron Trump.
But there is another group: the politically active spouse who insists that they are off limits because they are a spouse. This brings me to the subject of Jill McCabe.
I am an emergency room pediatrician and an accidental politician — someone who never thought much about politics until I was recruited to run for state office after making a statement about the importance of expanding Medicaid. That decision — plus some twisted reporting and presidential tweets — ended up costing my husband, Andrew, his job and our family a significant portion of his pension my husband had worked hard for over 21 years of federal service. For the past year and a half of this nightmare, I have not been free to speak out about what happened. Now that Andrew has been fired, I am.
One day in 2014, an entourage of politicians came through the ER, and a reporter pulled me aside to ask how Medicaid expansion would affect my patients. I did not think any more of it until a year later, when I received a voice mail asking whether I might be interested in running for the state Senate.
I was stunned — I went home and told Andrew, and we laughed about how crazy that idea was. A few days later, I got another call: Clark Mercer, chief of staff to then-Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, asking me to at least speak to Ralph, who is a pediatric neurologist. I was moved by Ralph’s story about how he had used his medical background to advocate for the needs of the children he serves.
I started to become more interested, thinking, “Here’s a way I can really try to help people on a bigger scale than what I do every day.” While I was considering the possibility, Andrew and I went to Richmond to meet with various politicians, including then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. The subject of Hillary Clinton never came up — the story about her emails had not even broken when I was first approached by Northam. All the governor asked of me was that I support Medicaid expansion.
This is one of those things that is sort of true but the lies are by omission. First off, there were several candidates interviewed for the state senate nomination. Jill McCabe wasn’t just chatting with people, she was actively interviewing for the job. And we know Andrew McCabe was at that meeting and used his official FBI biography as an exhibit in his wife’s presentation:
Meanwhile, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office released to Circa under the Freedom of Information Act documents showing McCabe attended a meeting with his wife and the governor on a Saturday in March 2015 specifically to discuss having Jill McCabe run for state Senate in Virginia as a Democrat.
“This is a candidate recruitment meeting. McCabe is seriously considering running against State Senator Dick Black. You have been asked to close the deal,” the briefing memo for McAuliffe read.
Included in the governor’s briefing package was a copy of McCabe’s FBI biography. The biography made clear that Andrew McCabe was a senior executive who at the time oversaw the FBI’s Washington field office that among many tasks supervised investigations in northern Virginia.
Still, in thinking about running, one of my first concerns was Andrew and his job at the FBI, where he was the assistant director in charge of the Washington field office. I said to Andrew, “If you think this is going to be a problem for you professionally, even if it’s allowed, I won’t do it.”
He consulted with the ethics experts at the FBI and committed to follow their advice. We tried to go even beyond what the rules required — Andrew kept himself separate from my campaign. When the kids and I went door-knocking, he did not participate; he wouldn’t even drive us. He could have attended one of my fundraisers but never did. One day he put on a campaign T-shirt so we could take a family picture and share it with my proud parents. You may have seen it — it seems to have taken on a weird life of its own — but that was it, just a family picture at a swim meet.
We don’t know when this conversation about “Andrew and his job” took place, but by the time of the meeting Jill McCabe had to interview for the senate candidate slot, Andrew McCabe was already in violation of the Hatch Act. (Help me buy new shoes for the kids, click on my post on McCabe’s Hatch Act violations.)
She tries to make the t-shirt incident sound innocent:
But it acquired “a weird life of its own” because candidate Jill McCabe sent it out via her campaign’s social media:
I don’t know if Jill McCabe was totally ignorant of Hatch Act restrictions…or just feeling entitled because it was a day ending in “y”…but her husband would have had no doubts about the rather blatant illegality of him appearing in campaign communication wearing a partisan campaign tee shirt.
And Andrew McCabe compounded it by sending out images of him sending supporting messages for his wife
And he used his official office email to plug his wife’s candidacy.
So, while Jill McCabe might very well be blithely unaware of the Hatch Act, her husband has annual training on the law, signs a statement verifying that he understands the law, and, according to the op-ed, he had a one-on-one meeting with the FBI ethics office. Apparently, he didn’t pay much more attention to this than he did to the whole “lying to federal agents” thing.
Almost a year later, everything changed. A reporter called my cellphone on a Sunday in October 2016, asking questions about contributions to my campaign and whether there had been any influence on Andrew’s decisions at the FBI.
This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it makes no sense. Andrew’s involvement in the Clinton investigation came not only after the contributions were made to my campaign but also after the race was over. Since that news report, there have been thousands more, repeating the false allegation that there was some connection between my campaign and my husband’s role at the FBI.
Just as Robert Mueller is looking into decades-old financial transactions by Paul Manafort to see if these indicate collusion with Russia in 2016, asking about the political support Jill McCabe received from the Clinton machine, particularly their longtime bagman, former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is completely legitimate. These inquiries are made more pertinent by the fact that Andrew McCabe supervised the Clinton email and Clinton Foundation investigations throughout 2016 and only recused himself from the former on November 1.
Then the president started tweeting about how the contributions to my campaign made it clear that Andrew (and all the senior leadership at the FBI) were corrupt and that he should be removed. It went one step further in the days before Christmas, when the president made threats related to my husband’s retirement.
To have my personal reputation and integrity and those of my family attacked this way is beyond horrible. It feels awful every day. It keeps me up nights. I made the decision to run for office because I was trying to help people. Instead, it turned into something that was used to attack our family, my husband’s career and the entire FBI.
Nothing can prepare you for what happens when your life is turned upside down by current events. Nothing prepares you for conversations you have to have with your teenage children. Nothing prepares you for the news crews staking out your house, your back yard, your place of business. Nothing prepares you for the fear you feel every time you receive a package from a stranger.
I have spent countless hours trying to understand how the president and so many others can share such destructive lies about me. Ultimately I believe it somehow never occurred to them that I could be a serious, independent-minded physician who wanted to run for office for legitimate reasons. They rapidly jumped to the conclusion that I must be corrupt, as part of what I believe to be an effort to vilify us to suit their needs.
Factually, Andrew McCabe’s firing was an own goal. He lied to Justice and FBI investigators at least four times. He thought he was bulletproof. He was wrong.
Jill McCabe has the same whiny, entitled attitude as does her husband. “We are important people. We are too important to worry about the rules that we’ll send you proles to prison for breaking. How dare you question our high-minded motives because we are the purest of the pure.”
Jill McCabe made herself an issue by running in a partisan race. Andrew McCabe showed a casual contempt for the Hatch Act throughout her campaign. The nexus of the Clinton-connected cash that fueled her candidacy and her husband’s role in two investigations into the Clinton machine were legitimate issues. I’m sorry for the difficulties her kids may have experienced but Jill McCabe shot herself in the foot and now has the temerity to complain about the pain and missing toes.