FBI Chief Wray weighs in on McCabe termination

FBI Director Christopher Wray — asked by NBC News in an exclusive interview broadcast Wednesday about the termination last week of Deputy Director Andrew McCabe — said he would never allow politics to affect the way he runs the agency.

"I am committed to doing things objectively and independently and by the book. I think that has to extend not just to our investigations, our intelligence analysis, but it also has to extend to personnel decisions and disciplinary decisions," Wray told NBC News' Pete Williams.

Wray said was not addressing the details of McCabe's termination, but maintained that he was committed to not allowing politics to be a factor in decisions at the FBI.

"I want to be careful about what I can say about the process" of McCabe's firing, Wray said. "But I will tell you that my commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that most importantly, it is not based on political or partisan influence is something I am utterly unyielding on."

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe
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Newly installed acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: From left, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, appear during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled 'World Wide Threats' on May 11, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, speaks during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, USA on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: A binder containing classified material marked Secret sits on the witness table in front of Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, United States on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe arrives for a meeting with members of the Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees in the Rayburn House Office Building December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee for ten hours on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (L) and Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Andrew McCabe (R) during a press conference at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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The interview came just days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions, late Friday night, accepted the recommendation that McCabe, who took the reins of the agency during the turbulent days after the abrupt firing of James Comey, be terminated — two days before he was to retire and become eligible for full pension benefits.

Though McCabe — who has been attacked by President Donald Trump — stepped down as deputy director in late January, he remained on the federal payroll, planning to retire on Sunday, his 50th birthday. The firing places his full federal pension in jeopardy.

In statement released after the termination was announced, McCabe said: "This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but 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, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel's work."

In a segment of Wray's interview with NBC News released Tuesday night, the current FBI chief wouldn't address the topic, saying that he didn't feel any political pressure and that he was "committed to doing this job by the book."

See more of Williams' interview with Wray on Wednesday evening on NBC's "Nightly News" and the "Today" show in Thursday morning.

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