Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe believes his firing was political and that it has to do with his willingness to corroborate information former FBI Director James Comey has given to Congress as well as the special counsel about interactions he has had with President Trump. McCabe was dismissed late Friday night, two days before his retirement date and before his pension fully vested. McCabe has been with the Bureau for twenty-one years.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on Friday after it was determined by an internal FBI investigation that he had been less than forthcoming about authorizing FBI officials to speak with reporters about media accounts of friction between the FBI and the Department of Justice over an investigation into the Clinton Foundation, the philanthropic organization created by former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.
An October 2016 Wall Street Journal article alleged a dispute between the FBI and the Justice Department over how to proceed in that investigation. The article said the DOJ was resisting issuing subpoenas and that McCabe was personally slow walking the investigation.
The Journal quoted agents who disputed that notion. They described tense conversations between the FBI and the DOJ in which McCabe pushed hard for the investigation to continue. The Department of Justice’s inspector general found that McCabe authorized those officials – a FBI public affairs officer and bureau lawyer – to speak to the reporters.
The IG found McCabe acted inappropriately in authorizing those officials to speak to reporters on the Clinton investigation and then showed a lack of candor when speaking with internal investigators. Lack of candor is fireable offense at the FBI.
McCabe however, contends his firing is political.
“For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country,” McCabe wrote in a lengthy statement after his dismissal. “Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us.”
“The President’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all,” he added. “He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.”
President Trump has tweeted on more than one occasion about McCabe, singling him out as partisan and having a bias against him.
“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 $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?” the President wrote in December.
“FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” he wrote later the same day.
McCabe has faced criticism from Congressional Republicans, as well as the President himself, for actions taken by the Bureau during the Hillary Clinton email investigation as well as the Trump/Russia investigation. That criticism intensified 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.
McCabe contends that the attacks from the President and his allies stem from the fact that he is willing to corroborate much of what former FBI Director Jim Comey’s testified to before Congress against President Trump. Comey was dismissed by Trump last May for failing to effectively enough “remove the cloud” the Russia investigation was hanging over the President’s administration. Trump said the investigation was preventing him from getting things done on behalf of the American people, according to Comey.
Comey revealed that he had kept detailed memos of his interactions with the President, in the wake of his firing. Some of them purportedly show that the President attempted to obstruct justice with regards to the Russia investigation and the investigation into his former national security adviser Gen. Michel Flynn, who was ultimately dismissed for lying to the FBI about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.
“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 said. “The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.”
“The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens,” he added.
McCabe has since revealed that he has kept memos detailing his own interactions with the President. He has reportedly turned those memos over to Robert Mueller and has met with Mueller’s team.
The President assailed Robert Mueller this morning, characterizing his investigation as unfairly partisan. “Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans? Another Dem recently added…does anyone think this is fair? And yet, there is NO COLLUSION!” he wrote.
Negotiations between Mueller and the President’s legal team over a possible face-to-face interview between the Trump and Mueller are ongoing.