Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe called his dismissal an attempt to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling, according to a report Friday from The New York Times.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe Friday night over allegations he authorized the disclosure of sensitive information to a reporter. McCabe believes his dismissal, who served as sitting FBI director after James Comey’s ousting last May, is an effort to derail Mueller’s probe.
“The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong. This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness,” McCabe told reporters Friday shortly after his dismissal. Some viewed the outgoing deputy director as a potential witness in a probe determining the degree with which Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
McCabe is accused in a yet-to-be-released internal FBI report of not being forthcoming about the nature of a conversation he authorized between FBI officials and a journalist. McCabe had shown a lack of candor under oath on multiple occasions, Sessions said in a press statement Friday shortly after the announcement.
“The F.B.I. expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability,” said Sessions, who recused himself last May from ruling on aspects of any probe into Russian meddling. “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”
McCabe’s time at the agency has been tumultuous one. He oversaw the probes into both the Trump campaign and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time at the State Department. He also publicly called out the White House on national television over whether Comey had lost the support of rank-and-file F.B.I. agents.
Trump is not involved in the firing decisions of officials like McCabe. Rather, veteran disciplinary officials advised the AG to oust the FBI deputy director. Nevertheless, the president expounded on Twitter about the importance of pushing McCabe out.
“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy,” Trump told his followers Saturday morning on Twitter. “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 was fired two days before his retirement date. It is not clear what, if anything, will happen to his public pension.