Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe. The embattled deputy is set to retire on Sunday and firing him would make ineligible for a pension. McCabe has been with the Bureau for twenty-one years.
McCabe stepped down, suddenly, from his post in January. He had announced his retirement last year but was expected to stay on until March. The designation “stepping down” allowed him to remain employed by the FBI until his benefits fully vested.
It would subsequently be revealed FBI Director Christopher Wray had found something in an upcoming inspector general’s report that sufficiently concerned him enough to reassign McCabe to another role. The move would have effectively been a demotion. McCabe chose to step down instead.
Wray has not divulged what that discovery was but seemed to imply that there was a connection between McCabe’s sudden departure and an upcoming inspector general’s report in a written message to FBI employees the same day McCabe stepped down.
“It would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific aspects of the IG’s review right now,” Wray said. “But I can assure you that I remain staunchly committed to doing this job, in every respect, ‘by the book.’ I will not be swayed by political or other pressure in my decision making.” In the very next paragraph Wray wrote that McCabe had announced his departure, implying there was connection between the two.
McCabe has faced criticism from Republicans, as well as the President himself, for actions taken by the Bureau in the Hillary Clinton investigation as well as the Trump/Russia investigation. The criticism intensified late last year after it was revealed that his wife received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from a PAC led by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe during a state Senate campaign a couple of years ago. McAuliffe is a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s.
Trump himself has tweeted with regards to McCabe’s pension in the past.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
In a separate inspector general’s report that focused solely on McCabe’s conduct, it was found that McCabe was not forthcoming in an internal review of a decision by him to allow FBI officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
An October 2016 Wall Street Journal article alleged that there was a dispute between the FBI and the Justice Department over how to proceed in the investigation. The article alleged the DOJ was resisting issuing subpoenas in the case and that McCabe was personally slow walking the investigation.
The article quoted other agents who disputed that notion. The inspector general found that McCabe authorized FBI agents to speak to reporters for that article. Those agents described tense conversations between the FBI and the DOJ in which McCabe pushed hard for the investigation to continue.
The IG has found that McCabe was not forthcoming in the review of those actions. Based on those findings, the FBI initiated its own disciplinary process that has recommended McCabe’s termination.
It is now up to Attorney General Sessions to accept that decision or reject it.