McCabe, a fre­quent Trump tar­get, abruptly leaves post

Ripon Bulletin - - Nation -

WASHINGTON (AP) — FBI Deputy Direc­tor An­drew McCabe, a tar­get of fre­quent and ag­gres­sive crit­i­cism by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, abruptly stepped down from his po­si­tion Mon­day ahead of his planned re­tire­ment this spring.

A 22-year vet­eran of the FBI, McCabe has been pub­licly and re­peat­edly lam­basted over the past year by Trump, who has ac­cused him of bias be­cause of his wife’s po­lit­i­cal con­nec­tions and an FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tion that pro­duced no crim­i­nal charges against Hil­lary Clin­ton.

McCabe, who has held a num­ber of FBI lead­er­ship roles and been heav­ily in­volved in in­ves­ti­ga­tions into ma­jor crimes in­clud­ing the 2013 Bos­ton Marathon bomb­ing, be­comes el­i­gi­ble for re­tire­ment in a mat­ter of weeks. FBI staff learned Mon­day that McCabe was leav­ing the bureau’s No. 2 post ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately, ac­cord­ing to peo­ple who spoke only on con­di­tion of anonymity to dis­cuss an in­ter­nal per­son­nel move. He is ex­pected to re­tire with full pen­sion ben­e­fits.

The de­par­ture comes as FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher Wray makes changes to his se­nior lead­er­ship team, re­plac­ing two other top aides last week. Such changes are not un­usual when a new direc­tor takes charge, but they are no­table amid Trump’s pub­lic pres­sure on Wray to get rid of of­fi­cials who were con­fi­dants of James Comey, whom he fired as FBI direc­tor last May.

In a mes­sage Mon­day to FBI em­ploy­ees, Wray said McCabe would be re­tir­ing on March 18 and de­nied that the move stemmed from po­lit­i­cal pres­sure.

“I will not be swayed by po­lit­i­cal or other pres­sure in my de­ci­sion-mak­ing,” Wray wrote.

The exit comes amid mul­ti­ple on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tions, in­clud­ing a Jus­tice Depart­ment watch­dog probe into the ac­tions of McCabe and other top FBI of­fi­cials dur­ing the Clin­ton email probe. In ad­di­tion, spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller is in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether the Trump cam­paign im­prop­erly co­or­di­nated with Rus­sia dur­ing the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and whether Trump sought to ob­struct the in­quiry by, among other ac­tions, fir­ing Comey.

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