Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent shockwaves throughout the nation’s capital with his decision to fire Andrew McCabe, a high-ranking FBI official and nemesis of President Donald Trump, just 26 hours before he was set to qualify for a pension.
Trump has long advocated for the FBI deputy director’s ouster, using Twitter on multiple occasions to impugn his character.
Early Saturday morning, the president once again used that forum to express his approval of what he called a “great day for Democracy,” while at the same time taking a shot at another frequent foe, former FBI Director James Comey.
“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy,” Trump tweeted. “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!”
In a statement late Friday night, Sessions defended his decision to fire the embattled official before the release of a Department of Justice inspector general’s report. The report looked into accusations that McCabe lied to investigators regarding whether he instructed agents to speak to reporters about an investigation into activities by the Clinton Foundation.
“After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR),” Sessions wrote.
He went on to explain that the “OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe.”
According to Sessions, reports from both departments “concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
Newly freed from the constraints of his position at the bureau, however, McCabe fired back at Trump directly in a statement regarding his recent termination and the behavior he said precipitated Sessions’ decision.
While still serving alongside federal investigators, he wrote that he absorbed relentless criticism from the administration silently, “never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us.”
McCabe made it clear in his statement that his silence is now over.
“Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us,” he wrote.
Trump has “amplified and exacerbated it all,” McCabe added, through his use of social media to denigrate political enemies.
Late last year, the president ominously wrote that McCabe was “racing the clock to retire with full benefits,” taunting that he had “90 days to go” before he would qualify for his pension.
“He called for my firing,” McCabe said. “He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service.”
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