Surprising news from the FBI yesterday: Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe has stepped down. McCabe was scheduled to resign in March anyway, retiring shortly after his pension became available, but few expected his early resignation. He will utilize several weeks of unused paid leave to bridge the gap between his early departure and his original March departure date.
• McCabe is noteworthy because President Trump specifically pointed the director out as a source of bias influencing the Russian collusion incident. One of these tweets reminded the public that he was on borrowed time. “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”
• A second tweet from Trump a few months back suggested political manipulation on McCabe’s part. “Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!”
• Despite the connection between Trump and McCabe, there is little to no evidence suggesting that the White House or Trump had anything to do with McCabe’s decision. The Trump administration is officially redirecting most questions about the decision to the FBI.
• Sarah Huckabee-Sanders confirmed that Trump hadn’t influenced the decision in a press conference. She expressed that McCabe’s decision was personal, and not influenced by anyone in the current administration.
• Despite Sanders’ assertion, some political analysts believe that Trump has been essentially engaging in a “public relations campaign” against McCabe. This includes a series of denigrating tweets the President posted about the Director in previous months.
• At least one source, FBI Director Christopher Wray, stated that he told McCabe the FBI was creating a new team. Wray apparently indicated to him (McCabe) that he would not be made a part of that team, giving the director little reason to remain in his position until March arrives.
• McCabe is the latest in a series of top FBI officials who have stepped down in recent weeks. This includes the FBI’s Chief of Staff James Rybicki and FBI veteran Peter Strzok. Strzok is currently embroiled in a missing email scandal after officials learned that he was having an illicit affair with FBI lawyer Lisa Page. Both Strzok and Page left the bureau in mid-spring of last year.
What are your thoughts on McCabe’s early departure?