Wed, Jan 31, 2018 - Page 7 News List

FBI’s Andrew McCabe to step down

NO PRESSURE:Donald Trump has released texts between two FBI investigators to further fuel criminal wrongdoing allegations against former secretary of state Hilary Clinton

AFP, WASHINGTON

FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is stepping down after US President Donald Trump accused him of being a Democratic partisan, a government source confirmed on Monday.

McCabe is stopping work immediately, but will remain on the FBI payroll until March to obtain retirement benefits, the source confirmed.

McCabe, 49, was expected to leave sometime early this year when he became fully eligible for a pension, after two decades in the bureau.

The New York Times reported that McCabe had hoped to stay active in his position up to his retirement, but was pressured to leave earlier by FBI director Christopher Wray.

Wray, who was appointed by Trump in August last year, had not intended to include McCabe on his revamped management team, the report said.

McCabe was a career FBI official, not a political appointee.

The FBI had no official comment.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump had no role in the move.

“The president wasn’t part of this decisionmaking process,” Sanders said.

The early departure comes after McCabe endured months of tough criticism from Republicans for his loyalty to fired FBI director James Comey and alleged bias against Trump.

Comey himself praised McCabe’s FBI service, saying he “stood tall over the last eight months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on.”

“I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you,” Comey added in a tweet.

McCabe and Comey had key roles in the FBI’s probe of Trump’s political rival Hillary Rodham Clinton during the 2016 election, which ultimately cleared the Democrat of criminal wrongdoing in her misuse of a personal e-mail server while she was US secretary of state.

The president has repeatedly assailed that decision as wrong and recently released text messages between two investigators involved in the probe that showed them strongly opposed to Trump.

An FBI inspector general is investigating the handling of the Clinton case.

McCabe and Comey were also involved in the initial stages of an ongoing investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians during the election, which Trump calls “fake news.”

Angered by that investigation, Trump fired Comey on May 9 last year.

McCabe became acting FBI director and days later, in testimony to Congress, he rebutted Trump’s claim that Comey had left the bureau “in turmoil” and had lost the confidence of the FBI staff.

Comey “enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does,” McCabe said.

Accusations of bias also arose from McCabe’s wife having run as a Democrat for local Virginia political office as a Democrat in 2015, receiving financial support from the party. In July last year, Trump questioned why Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not dismiss him.

“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives,” he wrote on Twitter.

Trump named Wray the new FBI director in August last year, and kept up the pressure on McCabe. He tweeted again in December about McCabe’s wife and his role in the Clinton probe. He added a hint that McCabe was soon to depart, before it was publicly known.

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

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