FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was reportedly forced out amid Trump’s attacks

  • FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is leaving the bureau.
  • President Donald Trump has taken aim at McCabe on Twitter in recent months amid an ongoing conflict with the FBI.
  • A pair of major stories last week detailed the president’s interactions and relationship with McCabe.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is leaving the bureau, multiple outlets reported Monday.

A CNN producer and a Fox News report described sources as saying McCabe was told Monday morning to step down and that he was being “removed” from the FBI.

President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly criticised McCabe in recent months, ignored questions shouted at him about the report during a lunch with United Nations Security Council ambassadors, a Bloomberg reporter said on Twitter.

Meanwhile, the White House has sought to distance itself from the McCabe news.

The White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said during Monday’s press briefing that Trump “wasn’t a part of the decision-making process,” adding that the president stood by all of his previous remarks about McCabe.

Later Monday, The New York Times reported that McCabe left the bureau after FBI Director Christopher Wray raised concerns about an upcoming Justice Department inspector general report examining McCabe’s and other senior officials’ actions during the 2016 presidential campaign. The FBI was investigating both the Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s use of private email and the Trump’s campaigns connections to Russia.

In his discussion with McCabe, Wray suggested a demotion, a former official told The Times, but McCabe instead decided to leave.

In the days before McCabe’s departure, a pair of recent stories detailed Trump’s interactions and relationship with the deputy director.

The Washington Post reported last week that during an Oval Office meeting last year – meant to be an introductory meet-and-greet session after the president fired James Comey as FBI director in May – Trump asked McCabe, the acting FBI director at the time, who he voted for in the 2016 presidential election.

A former official told The Post that McCabe found the question “disturbing.”

During the meeting, Trump reportedly made pointed remarks about McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, who ran as a Democratic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015 and lost. Her campaign received $US675,000 in donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and a super PAC operated by Terry McAuliffe, the former governor who is a close friend of Clinton’s.

Months after that election, McCabe became the FBI deputy director, and he later helped lead two investigations related to Clinton, including into her email use, though he later recused himself from those.

Also last week, the news website Axios, citing three sources, reported that Wray threatened to resign after Attorney General Jeff Sessions pressured him, at Trump’s urging, to fire McCabe.

Axios also reported that Sessions was pressuring Wray to oust James Baker, a former general counsel for the bureau.

Trump has for months taken aim at McCabe on Twitter, often falsely claiming that McCabe was investigating Clinton while his wife was accepting campaign donations linked to her.

Last month, Trump, apparently quoting a Fox News segment, tweeted: “FBI’s Andrew McCabe, ‘in addition to his wife getting all of this money from M (Clinton Puppet), he was using, allegedly, his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. You obviously cannot do this. These were the people who were investigating Hillary Clinton.'”

Earlier, he went after McCabe and Comey, tweeting: “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $US700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?”

That wasn’t all. Trump referred to a Post report saying McCabe planned to retire early this year, when he is eligible for full pension benefits.

“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Trump tweeted.

The move also came just a day after Wray viewed a Republican memo that alleged surveillance abuse by McCabe, Comey, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Fox News reported.

McCabe is just the latest official to call it quits or to appear to be forced out of the Justice Department since Trump took office last year.

The Post on Saturday quoted a person who had interacted with the team of Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s election interference, as saying prosecutors were pursuing a theory that Trump’s actions with regard to the Russia investigation have followed a pattern.

“Their theory appears to be that he goes after people who are not loyal,” they said. “He wants in place people who are loyal, to make sure he doesn’t get in trouble in the investigation.”

Soon after NBC broke the news of McCabe’s departure, Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., weighed in on Twitter.