Tensions between President Trump and former high-ranking intelligence community officials have been rising in the wake of the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. McCabe was fired on Friday after an internal FBI investigation found he acted inappropriately in authorizing officials to speak to reporters about a Clinton Foundation investigation in 2016, then showed a lack of candor when speaking with investigators about those actions. Lack of candor is fireable offense at the FBI.
McCabe was fired late Friday night by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, two days before his retirement date and two days before his pension fully vested. McCabe has been with the Bureau for twenty-one years.
President Trump has tweeted on more than one occasion about McCabe, singling him out as partisan and accusing him of harboring 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.
After McCabe was fired, Mr. Trump tweeted his praise. “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” the President wrote Friday night.
The next morning the President attempted to shift the attention to high levels of the intelligence community as well as the State Department. “As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State. #DrainTheSwamp,” he wrote.
The President tweeted again minutes later, this time drawing attention to former FBI Director James Comey, whom the President fired last May.
“The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, Terry M, who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” he wrote.
James Comey then responded in a rare tweet, “Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon. And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”
Comey has written a book that will be released on April 17, and also agreed to what will be a widely-watched prime time interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos two days before the book’s release date.
Former CIA Director John Brennan also assailed the President, writing “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”
“You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you,” he wrote yesterday.
But President Trump continued to tweet criticism of James Comey and also began to criticize special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller.
“The Mueller probe should never have been started in that there was no collusion and there was no crime. It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC, and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” he wrote.
The back and forth caused alarm on the part of some on Capitol Hill. Democratic Senator Pat Leahy wrote a letter to Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, urging him to immediately call hearings on the politicization of the Department of Justice and the FBI.
“There is nothing routine about what is happening today,” Leahy wrote. I believe the ongoing attacks on and attempted politicization of the FBI demands our Committee’s immediate attention. At a minimum that includes a public hearing with the FBI’s Director and the recently departed Deputy Director. The Senate Judiciary Committee will fail to fulfill a core responsibility to oversee and protect the integrity of the FBI if it does nothing in this moment. History will judge us harshly if we collectively shrug our shoulders while our nation’s premier law enforcement institutions are under assault.”
At the end of the letter, was a handwritten note: “Chuck – it is serious. Pat.”