Trump admin fires key FBI official on retirement eve
The Trump administration fired late on Friday night former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a close confidant of ousted Director James Comey, after a Justice Department probe concluded that he had made “an unauthorised disclosure to the news media and lacked candour – including under oath – on multiple occasions”.
President Donald Trump, who had fired Comey last May and has frequently attacked McCabe, promptly hailed Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ dismissal of the key official as “a great day for democracy”. The dismissal that came less than 48 hours before McCabe was to retire could deprive him of much of his pension benefit.
“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy,” Trump tweeted a little after midnight, adding: “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!”
McCabe hit back with a lengthy statement, dubbing his dismissal a “part of this (Trump) Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation (on Russian meddling in the presidential election), which continue to this day”.
“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,” McCabe said, adding: “For the last year and a half, my family and I have been targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my service to this country.”
Sessions, in his order terminating the services of McCabe, said the disciplinary action followed a report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on allegations of misconduct by McCabe and its review by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Session said, adding: “As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand’.”
McCabe, in his statement, directly blamed President for his plight, saying: “He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us. No more.”
“Here is the reality: 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,” McCabe said, adding: “The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicised, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.”
Trump has previously suggested that McCabe was biased in favour of Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent in the presidential race, by pointing out that McCabe’s wife, who ran as a Democrat for a seat in the Virginia legislature, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from a long-time Clinton ally.
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