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Frequent Trump Target at FBI Is Stepping Down

Deputy director Andrew McCabe is leaving
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2018 12:42 PM CST
Updated Jan 29, 2018 3:46 PM CST
Frequent Trump Target at FBI Is Stepping Down
In this June 7, 2017 file photo, then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe pauses during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – Expect a certain high-profile Twitter user to be celebrating this news: FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is retiring, reports NBC News. The move is effective immediately, though McCabe will formally remain on the FBI payroll into March thanks to accrued vacation time.

  • No surprise: As the Washington Post notes, the move is hardly a surprise. McCabe has been a frequent public target of President Trump, and he had been widely expected to quit in March when he qualified for full pension benefits. In fact, Trump himself had tweeted about this exact scenario last month: "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!"
  • Pressure: FBI chief Christopher Wray pressured McCabe to resign because of all that Trump criticism, reports the New York Times.

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  • Bad blood: One reason Trump has viewed McCabe as a political enemy is that McCabe's wife ran as a Democrat for a seat in Virginia's state legislature in 2016, using donations from a PAC belonging to Hillary Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe, who was then governor. McCabe later went on to oversee investigations related to Hillary Clinton. Trump tweeted about that, too: "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?"
  • Big picture: Politico sums it up: All of this is playing out with the Robert Mueller investigation as backdrop. Trump wanted McCabe out because he thinks he's biased, while Democrats say the president is pushing to oust any senior officials associated with James Comey, the FBI chief fired by Trump.
  • Trump Jr.: First son Donald Trump Jr. complained Monday about McCabe getting his full pension. "So they will keep him on till then despite all this to make sure the American tax payer is stuck paying him for the rest of his life?" he tweeted.
  • Memo to come: The House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote soon on whether to release a memo authored by the panel's GOP chief, Devin Nunes, that accuses the Justice Department and the FBI of abusing their surveillance authority in the Trump-Russia saga. As CNN notes, the memo reportedly mentions McCabe by name.
  • Not helping: McCabe also figured in a series of communications between the FBI and the White House that ended up being leaked to the press, notes the Federalist, summarizing an incident discussed in Howard Kurtz's new book.
McCabe served as interim FBI chief after Trump fired Comey, and the president reportedly asked him at the time how he had voted in 2016. (Read more FBI stories.)

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