Just hours after the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, was reassigned, WaPo reports that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will retire in a few months – once he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.
McCabe, who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, spent hours in Congress this past week, facing questions behind closed doors from members of three committees.
Republicans said they were dissatisfied with his answers:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has called for McCabe’s ouster, saying he “ought to go for reasons of being involved in some of the things that took place in the previous administration. We want to make sure that there’s not undue political influence within the FBI — the [Justice] Department and the FBI.”
Democrats called it a partisan hounding:
Democrats emerging from Thursday’s questioning of McCabe urged him to resist Republicans’ calls to step down, saying the GOP’s new focus on McCabe smells of political opportunism. “Mr. McCabe should in no way be fired by biased political commentary,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.).
But whichever it was, The Washington Post reports, according to people familiar with the matter, McCabe plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.
As a reminder, McCabe was former director James B. Comey’s right-hand man, a position that involved him in most of the FBI’s actions that vex President Trump as well as the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a matter that still riles Democrats.
McCabe won’t become eligible for his full pension until early March. People close to him say he plans to retire as soon as he hits that mark.
“He’s got about 90 days, and some of that will be holiday time. He can make it,’’ said one.
A spokesman for McCabe declined to comment, as did an FBI spokesman.
There is good reason to question McCabe’s perspective and un-biasedness…
His wife, a Democratic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the political action committee led by a close ally of the Clintons. He had also been part of discussions with Justice Department officials that critics said prevented FBI agents from more aggressively pursuing their investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Agents were trying to determine if donations to the foundation were made with an expectation of government favors from Clinton or her allies.
After reports about those issues surfaced in October 2016, then-candidate Trump singled out McCabe for criticism, and congressional Republicans demanded detailed answers from the FBI about his role in the Clinton probes — questions they insist remain unanswered.
McCabe’s role is being examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who has said a report on how the Clinton probe was handled should be finished by spring.
Republicans are also focusing on the FBI’s relationship with the author of a dossier containing allegations against Trump. The bureau offered to pay the author of that document after the election to keep pursuing leads and information, but the agreement was never finalized, The Washington Post reported earlier this year.
And most recently, one of his senior advisers, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had exchanged numerous pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages with Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent on Mueller’s probe. Strzok was removed by Mueller when he learned of their communications; Page had left the Mueller team two weeks earlier for what officials said were unrelated reasons. In one text, Strzok texted that he thought Clinton should win “100,000,000-0.’’
More problematic for McCabe is a text in which Page told Strzok, “I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected — but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.’’
Republican lawmakers have seized on that text as evidence Strzok, Page, and possibly McCabe were involved in an effort to somehow ensure Trump would not win the election. But people familiar with the exchange said the officials were debating how overtly they should begin investigating Trump, and that one of the factors they considered was the likelihood Trump could win the presidency – which they considered small.
Even that explanation presents a headache for McCabe because it places a conversation in his office about how the expected election outcome should or should not affect the FBI’s investigative decisions.
But apart from that.. he is a great guy, according to his former boss James Comey took to the Twitter to defend him and his lackey James Baker today…
“Sadly, we are now at a point in our political life when anyone can be attacked for partisan gain.”
With The FBI’s reputation in tatters (and former FBI Director claiming that anything that exposes corruption or bias is off-limits, “for partisan gain”), it appears FBI Director Christopher Wray may be – just maybe – starting to clean house as first Baker and McCabe (following Peter Strzok’s and Bruce Ohr’s reassignment) are thrown under the bus, perhaps in an effort to appease those looking for Mueller blood.
Meanwhile, Trump predictably wasted no time to lash out at the FBI asking “How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?”
How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
Followed up by “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017