In a news-making memoir, former FBI head McCabe recounts his interactions with a corrupt government—our own—that uses “the power of public office to undermine legal authority and to denigrate law enforcement.”
Early on, the author reproduces his 1995 FBI employment application, which cites an arrest for purchasing alcohol with a fake ID and calls him an average student in law school, if one with “a strong interest in criminal law.” That much is abundantly clear, as he recounts how he secured a post with the FBI, “the nemesis of criminals.” It is also clear on which side McCabe’s loyalties lie. After Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey in an “improvised and slapdash” travesty, he installed McCabe as acting director—and then fired him, too, just shy of his being able to retire with a pension. (A lawsuit is pending.) Throughout the book, newsworthy moments come fast and furious: Trump is frenetic and angry, and his style and signaling fuel “a strain of insanity in public dialogue that has been long in development.” He is vindictive, insecure, and corrupt. More than once, he demanded to know who McCabe voted for. He governs by tweet and insult: As the author stalwartly notes of tweets directed to him, “it is meaningless to be called a liar by the most prolific liar I have ever encountered.” More to the point, and now corroborative more than newsbreaking, is McCabe’s matter-of-fact assurance that Russia interfered in the U.S. election in ways that put Trump in office. No matter the degree of collusion on the American side, Trump has consistently sided with Russia against the American intelligence community. “He thought that North Korea did not have the capability to launch [intercontinental] missiles,” writes the author. “He said he knew this because Vladimir Putin had told him so."
Evenhandedly, McCabe assures readers that the threat of the title will not prevail thanks to the rule of law, even if Trump is doing all he can to destroy it. Somber, urgent, necessary reading for anyone paying attention.