Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has fired Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director who was a regular target of President Donald Trump’s anger and criticism, just two days before McCabe’s scheduled retirement date. McCabe suggested the move was part of the Trump administration’s “war on the FBI.”
The dismissal Friday was made on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials. An upcoming inspector general’s report is expected to conclude that McCabe authorized the release of information to the media and was not forthcoming with the watchdog office as it examined the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Sessions said in a statement.
McCabe said his credibility had been attacked as “part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally” but also the FBI and law enforcement.
“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,” he added, referring to Robert Mueller’s probe into potential coordination between Russia and the Trump campaign. “Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the special counsel’s work.”
McCabe asserted he was singled out because of the “role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey,” whom Trump fired as FBI director last May.
Mueller is investigating whether Trump’s actions, including Comey’s ouster, constitute obstruction of justice. McCabe, a Comey confidant, could be an important witness.
McCabe said the release of the findings against him was accelerated after he told congressional officials that he could corroborate Comey’s accounts of Comey’s conversations with the president.
McCabe spent more than 20 years as a career FBI official and played key roles in some of the bureau’s most recent significant investigations. Trump repeatedly condemned him over the past year as emblematic of an FBI leadership he contends is biased against his administration.