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Posted by on Mar 16, 2018 in Politics | 0 comments

Sessions fires Andrew McCabe a little more than 24 hours before retirement

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe a little more than 24 hours from now in what some critics believe was a rushed decision for political reasons to act quickly enough to take his pension away.

And McCabe later told a reporter for the New York Times that he believed he was fired to undermine his credibility in Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign and the 2016 Presidential election.

The Washington Post:

Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department Inspector General and the FBI office that handles discipline had found “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”

He said based on those findings and the recommendation of the department’s senior career official, “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”

The move will likely cost McCabe a significant portion of his retirement benefits, though it is possible he could bring a legal challenge. McCabe has been fighting vigorously to keep his job, and on Thursday, he spent nearly four hours inside the Justice Department pleading his case.

McCabe has become a lightning rod in the political battles over the FBI’s most high-profile cases, including the Russia investigation and the probe of Hillary Clinton’s email practices. He has been a frequent target of criticism from President Trump.

His firing — which was recommended by the FBI office that handles discipline — stems from a Justice Department inspector general investigation that found McCabe authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to the media about a Clinton-related case, then misled investigators about his actions in the matter, people familiar with the matter have said. He stepped down earlier this year from the No. 2 job in the bureau after FBI Director Christopher A. Wray was briefed on the inspector general’s findings, though he technically was still an employee.

McCabe to the New York Times:

Mr. McCabe promptly declared that his firing, and Mr. Trump’s persistent needling, were intended to undermine the special counsel’s investigation in which he is a potential witness.

In an interview, Mr. McCabe was blunt. “The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong,” he said, adding, “This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness.”

F.B.I. disciplinary officials recommended his dismissal. Mr. McCabe, who stepped down in January and took a leave of absence, denied the accusation and appealed this week to senior career officials in the Justice Department.

Lack of candor is a fireable offense at the F.B.I., but Mr. McCabe’s last-minute dismissal was carried out against a highly politicized backdrop.

Mr. McCabe was among the first at the F.B.I. to scrutinize possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. And he is a potential witness to the question of whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice. Mr. Trump has taunted Mr. McCabe both publicly and privately, and Republican allies have cast him as the center of a “deep state” effort to undermine the Trump presidency.

As a witness, Mr. McCabe would be in a position to corroborate the testimony of the former F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, who kept contemporaneous notes on his conversations with Mr. Trump. Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump prodded him to publicly exonerate the president on the question of Russian collusion and encouraged him to shut down an investigation into his national security adviser.

In a statement released by his lawyers, Mr. McCabe said his firing was part of Mr. Trump’s “ongoing war on the F.B.I.” and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. He said he answered questions truthfully in the internal investigation and contacted investigators to correct the record when he believed they misunderstood him.

“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,” he said.

Mr. McCabe, a 21-year F.B.I. veteran, was eligible for a government pension if he retired on Sunday. The firing jeopardizes that benefit, though it was not immediately clear how much he might lose.

“It’s incredibly unfair to my reputation after a 21-year career,” Mr. McCabe said. He said the president’s public attacks were aimed at several targets. “The real damage is being done to the F.B.I., law enforcement and the special counsel,” he said.

Some more background from The Wall Street Journal:

Mr. Trump and his allies have sharply criticized Mr. McCabe, raising conflict-of-interest concerns because of another Journal article in October 2016 that said Mr. McCabe’s wife had run for a Virginia state Senate as a Democrat with the financial help of a Clinton ally, then- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

In July, Mr. Trump lashed out at Mr. McCabe on Twitter, asking why Mr. Sessions hadn’t replaced him, calling Mr. McCabe “a Comey friend” who was tainted by the campaign donation to his wife. Mr. Trump incorrectly alleged that Jill McCabe had received the money directly from Mrs. Clinton.

The FBI has said Mr. McCabe played no role in his wife’s campaign and Mr. McCabe received clearance from the FBI’s ethics office to oversee the Clinton investigation.























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