Dr. Jill McCabe, the wife of fired former Deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe, is finally free to tell her story. After her husband lost his job — becoming a major casualty in President Trump’s war on the FBI, a battle intended to discredit the investigation into his campaign’s collusion with Russia — the emergency room pediatrician and former candidate for Virginia state Senate no longer has to remain quiet out of respect for her husband’s precarious position at the Bureau.
Dr. McCabe went straight to the Op-ed page of The Washington Post to tell her side of the disheartening story of presidential arrogance and malevolence.
Jill McCabe starts her tale with some personal background on how she met her husband in college, their voting patterns (he’s “a reliable Republican,” she’s supported candidates from both parties), and how she came to be a Democratic candidate for state office.
Her candidacy actually sprung from her job as an emergency room physician after Virginia decided not to participate in the Medicaid expansion that was available to states as part of the Affordable Care Act. She saw the state government’s decision as hurting her patients and said so when asked by a reporter accompanying a group of politicians visiting her hospital.
“I was providing care in the most expensive setting — the emergency room — and only once a patient’s condition became more serious, because he or she had no other options. In addition, our state’s decision was increasing the cost of health care for everyone, ultimately raising prices, premiums and taxes, while thousands of patients suffered. The whole thing just made no sense,” Dr. McCabe writes.
A year after the interview, she received a voicemail from Democratic leadership in Virginia asking her if she would consider running for office. The Democrats were looking for a credible candidate who supported Medicaid expansion in the state and Dr. McCabe fit the bill perfectly. She says that throughout the process of discussing the possibility of running for office, neither Hillary Clinton nor her emails were ever discussed.
Still, she says “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,” Dr. McCabe recounts.
“Meanwhile, my campaign received funding from the state Democratic Party and the governor’s PAC — on par with what other candidates in competitive races on both sides of the aisle received. All those contributions were publicly reported. And of course, again, Clinton’s emails never came up — if they had, I would have found that alarming, immediately reported it and likely pulled out of the campaign. I know enough from being married to Andrew for 20 years to know what is right and what is wrong.”
Despite putting her heart into the race, Dr. McCabe did not win the election and went back to her life as a pediatric physician. It was only a year later, right before the 2016 presidential election, that she received a call from a reporter inquiring about the contributions to her campaign and what influence they had Andrew’s decisions at the FBI. She was flabbergasted by the questions.
“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,” she laments.
Once Trump took office, Dr. McCabe thought that things would return to normal, but When the president fired her husband’s boss, former FBI Director James Comey, she knew her husband would become a target for Trump’s ire as well. Soon the tweets about her husband and the contributions to her campaign started coming directly from the president. He began threatening her husband’s pension and their retirement plans. Her op-ed describes what the media siege was like.
“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.”
While Dr. McCabe is being extremely charitable in describing the president’s motivations as being a failure of imagination rather than a malicious campaign for self-preservation by a morally bankrupt traitor, the truth of the matter is that Trump’s firing of her husband through his constant pressure on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who announced the decision, was as corrupt and pernicious as any presidential action since the Nixon-era.
Dr. McCabe did not write her story in The Washington Post to garner sympathy. She emphasizes that her marriage and her family are all doing fine now. Her reasons for going public with her story are simple, to counter the false narrative that Trump and his right-wing media cronies have been spreading.
“Now that I can speak on my own behalf, I want people to know that the whole story that everything is based on is just false and utterly absurd,” she writes.
Like everything else in the Trump presidency.