The FBI’s Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claims his dismissal on Friday was an an act of retaliation after he corroborated James Comey’s account of his troubling interactions with Trump.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said McCabe was fired because the Justice Department’s Inspector General found the FBI’s No. 2 misled investigators about his communications with a former Wall Street Journal reporter.
But McCabe, who played a crucial role in the bureau’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. election, denied those claims.
In a lengthy statement, McCabe said, “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.”
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort ... to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation...” he added.
McCabe’s dismissal, which came just two days before he was eligible to retire with his full pension, raises questions about whether he received an overly harsh punishment due to political pressure from Trump, who has frequently attacked McCabe in the last year.
Trump has previously railed against Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to replace McCabe, who stepped down in January and remained on leave until his scheduled retirement on Sunday.
He also accused McCabe on numerous occasions for being biased because his wife Jill McCabe received donations for her unsuccessful 2015 Virginia state Senate campaign from Terry McAuliffe, who was then the state’s governor and an ally of the Clintons.
But McCabe did not start overseeing the FBI's investigations related to Clinton until after his wife’s campaign ended, the agency has said, and therefore did not have a conflict of interest.
Regardless, McCabe said Trump would make numerous mentions of his wife, calling her Senate bid a “mistake” or “problem” while branding her a “loser,” he told CNN.
In December 2017, Trump tweeted, “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 $700,0000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?
The attacks came the same week McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee and corroborated Comey's version of events — which included Trump's requests for loyalty and pressure to "let go" of any investigation into Michael Flynn.
Shortly after McCabe's testimony, the Justice Department’s inspector general “changed their plans” to focus on McCAbe's actions in connection to probes linked to Clinton, he said.
"I think every time it becomes clear that I will likely play a significant role in whatever comes of the special counsel's efforts, immediately after that I get targeted and attacked by the President and his Twitter account, and now the IG's approach to their own work changes immediately after my testimony gets leaked," he told CNN.
McCabe also said Trump asked who he voted for when he took over as interim FBI director when Comey was fired.
“I didn’t vote at all in 2016...because the work that we were involved in had such political overtones that I felt it was not prudent to take a side in an election,” McCabe said.
With News Wire Services