Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he has fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a longtime and frequent target of President Donald Trump’s anger, just two days before his scheduled retirement date.
The move, which had been expected, was made on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials. It comes ahead of an inspector general report expected to conclude that McCabe was not forthcoming with the watchdog office as it reviewed the bureau’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
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Though McCabe had spent more than 20 years as a career FBI official, Trump repeatedly condemned him over the last year as emblematic of an FBI leadership he contends is biased against his administration.
“Based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions said.
McCabe’s dismissal came two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his full pension. The firing – which comes nine months after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey – puts McCabe’s pension in jeopardy.
It also is likely to raise questions about whether McCabe received an overly harsh punishment due to political pressure by the Republican president, who has blasted McCabe on Twitter and called for his ouster.
“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 in a statement.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort … to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”
Trump tweeted at around midnight that McCabe’s firing represented “A great day for Democracy.”