The Lancaster County Democratic Party is getting national attention for booking former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe as the annual fall banquet speaker next weekend.
McCabe will arrive in Lancaster County on the heels of several days of intense speculation about whether the fired top official will be criminally indicted.
The county Democratic party’s choice for speaker has garnered national headlines for bringing McCabe to Pennsylvania, a state that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election. It also caught the attention from conservatives, including a top member of Trump’s reelection campaign.
CNN Contributor Andrew McCabe will headline a Democrat Party fundraiser in Pennsylvania on September 21. Interesting decision by the party, betting that he won't be criminally charged sometime in the next 2.5 weeks.https://t.co/vYrwdNgbdk— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) September 4, 2019
“Interesting decision by the party, betting that he won’t be criminally charged sometime in the next 2.5 weeks,” tweeted Matt Wolking, the Trump campaign’s deputy director of communications for rapid response.
McCabe, a counterterrorism expert, was fired from the Trump Administration in 2018 for lying to investigators about a leak he authorized during the 2016 presidential election. He was a main fixation for Trump, according to former FBI Director James Comey’s leaked memos, Vanity Fair reported.
The national reaction to bringing McCabe to Lancaster left Lancaster County Democratic Committee Chairwoman JoAnn Hentz “quite amazed,” she said.
“I was surprised that it got any attention beyond Lancaster County,” Hentz added. “We’re never out there trying to be controversial.”
Federal prosecutors recommended McCabe be criminally charged on Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen rejected an appeal by McCabe’s attorneys that was denied, which clears the way for federal officials to impanel a grand jury.
By Friday, McCabe’s lawyers asked federal prosecutors whether a secret grand jury already had refused to indict him, which would signal the the federal government is having trouble making a case against him, the New York Times reported.
Hentz and the local Democratic committee aren’t concerned McCabe will get indicted before he comes to Lancaster. Until then, they’ll look forward to their evening with him. Plus, there is a clause in his contract covering if McCabe is unable to complete his agreed-upon speech, she said.
“At this point, [the Trump Administration] already fired him,” Hentz said. “I’m not even sure what the purpose of this question of an indictment would be.”
McCabe will headline the banquet on Saturday, Sept. 21 starting at 6 p.m. at the Lancaster Marriott Hotel. Tickets are $80 per person.
Approximately 500 people have already purchased tickets for the event, Hentz said.
The Republican Committee of Lancaster County will release its fall banquet speaker in the coming weeks, its chair Kirk Radanovic wrote in an email. The banquet is set for mid-October.
McCabe, a CNN contributor, is set to speak about his more than 20 years at the FBI and “the new and emerging battlegrounds... that our nation will face,” according to a release.
“When we spoke with him on the phone, he really emphasized the idea of service and how he feels he and his peers at the FBI are servants of the country,” Hentz said. “Obviously, seeing some of the right wing comments, perhaps they won’t agree with that.”
The county Democratic party wanted to bring McCabe because of his experience with cyber-security concerns, especially during the 2016 election, Hentz said.
McCabe’s book “The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump,” is a New York Times No. 1 bestseller. McCabe will sign copies of the book after his speech.
Previous speakers for the local Democratic committee’s fall banquet include Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson.