- FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has been fired one day before his retirement.
- His firing comes amid a string of public attacks from President Donald Trump, who accused him of bias and corruption.
- McCabe was forced out of the bureau in January amid an internal investigation into his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
- McCabe said in a statement that he was being “singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”
Andrew McCabe, deputy director of the FBI, has been fired one day before he was set to retire, The Washington Post reported Friday.
McCabe, a 21-year veteran of the bureau, was planning to retire on Saturday. His firing could pose a significant risk to his pension benefits and financial future.
McCabe was forced out of the FBI earlier this year amid an internal investigation by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) into his approval of unauthorised disclosures to the media in October 2016 related to the bureau’s Hillary Clinton email probe.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) inspector general Michael Horowitz reportedly concluded in a report that McCabe was not forthcoming during the OIG review. The FBI Office of Personal Responsibility (OPR) subsequently recommended that Attorney General Jeff Sessions fire McCabe, according to The New York Times.
McCabe met with several senior DOJ officials on Thursday to make a final appeal not to be fired just days before his retirement. He met with the department’s senior-most career attorney but did not meet with Sessions, who was travelling at the time.
Sessions said in a statement Friday that “both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorised disclosure to the news med and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.”
He continued: “Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI’s Office of Personal Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”
McCabe, meanwhile, said in a statement, “Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”
McCabe was one of three top FBI officials former FBI director James Comey told about his conversations with Trump, many of which are now the subject of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump sought to obstruct justice when he fired Comey.
The other two officials Comey told were James Baker, the former FBI general counsel, and James Rybicki, Comey’s former chief of staff. Baker was demoted from his position and reassigned within the FBI, and Rybicki was forced out of the bureau last year.
The Wall Street Journal article at the center of the OIG’s inquiry into McCabe was published on October 30, 2016, two days after then-FBI Director James Comey announced in a letter to Congress that the bureau was reopening its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct government business when she was secretary of state.
The article was a highly detailed account of internal strife within the top ranks of the DOJ about how to proceed after FBI agents investigating former New York congressman Anthony Weiner discovered 650,000 emails on his laptop that could have been sent to or from Clinton’s private email server.
The reporter who authored The Journal’s article, Devlin Barrett, was in touch with two top FBI officials on the phone two days before the story broke, according to text messages released in February. The officials were FBI lawyer Lisa Page, who often worked with McCabe, and then-FBI spokesman Michael Kortan.
While law-enforcement officials often speak to the press on background in order to provide more complete details about an ongoing story, they are prohibited from revealing information about ongoing investigations, like the Clinton email probe.
McCabe stepped down as deputy director in January after FBI Director Christopher Wray briefed him on the impending OIG report about his conduct.
The deputy director’s ouster came following a string of public attacks President Donald Trump leveled against him, accusing him of putting his thumb on the scale in favour of Clinton.
Trump’s attacks were based on information contained in a separate Wall Street Journal article published one week before Barrett’s.
McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, mounted an unsuccessful run for a Virginia state Senate seat in 2015. The Journal reported on October 24, 2016 that her campaign received $US675,000 in donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and from Common Good VA, the super PAC run by Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton supporter. None of the donations came from Clinton or her family.
Trump latched onto the revelations, accusing McCabe of corruption and anti-Trump bias, based on his wife’s political campaign.
McCabe wasn’t in charge of the Clinton investigation at the time, and didn’t take on an “oversight role” in the probe until February 2016, long after his wife lost her election bid.