Mar 14, 2018, 1:32 PM ET

FBI officials recommend former deputy director McCabe be fired, source says


Officials within the FBI have recommended that the agency’s embattled former deputy director, Andy McCabe, be fired, just days before he is set to officially leave government, according to a source with knowledge of the recommendation.

The recommendation from the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility came after an internal report by the Justice Department’s inspector general accused the FBI veteran of misleading investigators looking into an array of matters connected to the 2016 presidential campaign, the source said.

McCabe is worried that if he were to be fired in the next few days, before he is officially eligible for his retirement benefits, he could lose a full pension that he has built after nearly 22 years of public service, according to sources familiar with McCabe’s thinking.

McCabe never intentionally misled investigators and did his best to accurately address investigators’ questions, according to those sources.

Now, senior officials within the Justice Department, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will decide McCabe’s fate.

“The Department follows a prescribed process by which an employee may be terminated,” a Justice Department spokeswoman said Wednesday. “That process includes recommendations from career employees and no termination decision is final until the conclusion of that process. We have no personnel announcements at this time.”

For more than a year, the Justice Department’s inspector general has been looking into whether McCabe should have done more to shield certain investigations from potential conflicts of interest, and the inspector general’s office recently completed a draft report on McCabe.

PHOTO: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017, during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo, FILE
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill, May 11, 2017, during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S.

In the draft report, internal investigators conclude McCabe went too far in trying to push back against media reports questioning whether family ties to Democrats could impact his work, particularly when he authorized FBI officials to speak with a reporter about the agency’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a source familiar with the findings.

But the draft report takes particular issue with how forthcoming McCabe was when Justice Department officials asked him questions about his actions, according to the source.

Those close to McCabe insist he has been forthcoming with investigators.

McCabe “tried at every juncture to be as accurate and of course truthful” as he could, and he even “proactively reached out” to investigators to clarify any misunderstandings and make sure they had the most complete information from him, according to one source speaking in defense of McCabe.

The source insisted that McCabe never authorized “a leak” to a reporter and that discussions with a reporter about the Clinton Foundation probe were coordinated by an agency spokesman and an FBI attorney.

“It took place over the course of several days,” the source said. “So to be kind of retrospectively misrepresented as sort of a clandestine secretive leak is sort of … an unfair portrayal.”

President Donald Trump and his son have not been shy about weighing in on McCabe’s fate. Three months ago, after McCabe announced that he would be stepping down as the FBI’s deputy director but remain a government employee until retirement, President Donald Trump tweeted that McCabe was “racing the clock to retire with full benefits.”

“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?” Donald Trump Jr. tweeted.

Federal law states that government employees can lose their pension and benefits if convicted of a federal crime – there is no indication McCabe could face any charges for his actions.

Nevertheless, even some of those who have been convicted of lying to federal authorities or other offenses were able to retain their pensions.

Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty earlier this year to lying to authorities about his contacts with a Russian official, has been able to retain the pension he accrued from 33 years of military service.

Similarly, in 2015, after former CIA director Gen. David Petraeus admitted to giving his mistress classified information and then lying to FBI agents about it, Petraeus was able to retain his pension, which reportedly pays him $208,000 a year.

McCabe first joined the FBI in 1996, investigating organized crime cases in New York. Over the next several years, he shifted his focus to rooting out international terrorists, and in 2012 he became the head of the FBI’s counterterrorism division at headquarters in Washington.

In October 2013, McCabe took over the FBI’s entire national security branch, and the next year he moved to become the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. He then rejoined the ranks at FBI headquarters, becoming the deputy director in February 2016.

Over the past year, McCabe has become a frequent target of criticism from Trump and Republican lawmakers, who allege that McCabe’s time at the top of the FBI was emblematic of political bias in the FBI’s law enforcement work.

In particular, McCabe came under fire for what Republicans claimed were conflicts of interest because his wife ran for state senate in Virginia as a Democrat in 2015 while the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.

At the time his wife was running for election, McCabe was the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office.

Emails and correspondence released by the FBI show McCabe recused himself from any public corruption cases tied to Virginia. And according to the FBI documents, McCabe had no oversight of the Clinton matter until he became deputy director in February 2016, three months after his wife lost her election bid.

Still, in October 2016, the Wall Street Journal published at least one article that called into question McCabe’s ability to fairly oversee the federal probe of the Clinton Foundation. Ahead of the story’s publication, McCabe authorized an FBI spokesman to speak with the Wall Street Journal about efforts to keep the Clinton Foundation investigation moving forward, the source familiar with the inspector general’s findings told ABC News.

Days after the Wall Street Journal story was published, McCabe recused himself from the Clinton matter.

In December, FBI director Chris Wray defended McCabe, telling lawmakers he would “quarrel” with suggestions that McCabe has expressed any sort of political bias.

“I'm not aware of any senior FBI executives who are allowing improper political considerations to affect their work with me right now,” Wray told the House Judiciary Committee.

Nevertheless, three months ago the FBI announced McCabe would be vacating his post as deputy director, and he would be relying on vacation days he had accumulated to carry him to his official retirement.

News - FBI officials recommend former deputy director McCabe be fired, source says

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  • George McGnarly

    McCabe got busted. Too bad. If he had played fair we might have been able to get rid of President Chump and make Pence President.

  • Constance

    "McCabe never intentionally misled investigators and did his best to accurately address investigators’ questions, according to those sources." Both the Inspector General and the FBI say this statement isn't true, but the author throws this in without any source to prove it as a fact.

    That tells you two things. First, no such proof of McCabe exists. Second, the agenized media is will to continue to push propaganda of Felon-To-Be McCabe irrespective of the facts.

  • Barbara Dye


  • Colin Gilman

    Critical Thoughts On The Firing Of Mr. McCabe, The Russian Collusion Investigation (which hasn't found anything yet), and Human Resources As A Function Of A Political Agenda......An OpEd Article ....... By: Mr.Colin G. Gilman....... Dated: March 17, 2018
    The Importance Of Confidentiality
    The American People --by now and through the combination of acquired logic and common sense -- know the importance of confidentiality when it comes to workplace functionality.
    Common Sense Restrictions (CCR) on human behavior --in order to maintain an established social order with reduced likelihood of conflict (and limited damage to life, liberty or property) is certainly called for--certainly in this day and age.
    We know, for example, that from Congressional hearings --too much information is not only costly and confusing, but if fallen into the wrong hands can be dangerous to our nation's security as well.

    More specifically, there is a long time precedent and now, plenty of good reasons to adhere to the rules of confidentiality.

    For one thing, as in the case of one's medical records confidentiality preserves the privacy of a patient.

    Other times, a file's classified status is absolutely necessary for our national integrity, psychology and defense.
    The Russian Collusion Investigation
    Of course, it's an absurd idea that Russia-- a classic adversary--with major skin in the game-- should, could, or would-- jeopardize the stability of our already "Not-So-Great Relationship" by intruding on our elections processes.

    The action taken by Russia is absurd in the sense that Russia has little if any motivation to do anything to increase their international economic and political isolation that will inevitably result from such foreign policy making.

    In fact, whether or not the facts of Mueller's investigation ultimately vindicate President Trump, our collective patience regarding any attack on the integrity of our nation its laws and elections processes in particular -- should not be mistaken for weakness.

    However we may wish to be more supportive of the President, the irony of the investigation is not lost with the awkward few moments that then candidate Trump broadcast on national TV-- making Russia a request --directly--for them to hack into an American's computer.

    And now that we know they did, albeit indirectly, we are consequently, "mulling" over how specifically to respond (if at all).

    Clearly, the Russians bet that the Elections Interference (EIO) (including all the frustration and confusion it generated) would not be worth the absolute hell that would come with any sort of military response.

    And so now, it remains to be seen just how measured (or moderate) Trump's response will in fact be--especially with congressional pressures mounting for him to take some punitive action.

    It is possible that there is now a national imperative, central to obtaining any reasonable closure --IF-- for no other reason-- than to lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the President's head, in terms of his legacy of achievements, and secondly, to begin allowing him and his administration to focus on governing our nation (both the left and right) --not just the right or far right extremists. This would be much more logical than wasting precious resources on defending the integrity of the Presidential Office and President Trump's unconventional decision making.

    Thus, aren't these The Key Questions it would nice to have answers for....?

    1. Did McCabe recuse himself when his wife received a substantial donation to her political campaign (as a Democrat)?

    2. According to the record, what is the standard DOJ-imposed punishment for not recusing oneself under such circumstances?

    3. Mainstream media recently reported that it was alleged that there were certain and unspecified omissions in the testimony he gave to the investigators regarding his ordering an official speaker to interview a reporter regarding the Clinton Foundation. What exactly are the omissions that seemed to have upset both the President and Mr. Sessions so much?

    4. What exactly about Mr. McCabe's professional record would attest to deserving the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge?
    Again it seems really fishy that after 22 years of dedicated service, AND after having received an indirect waiver of support from the FBI Director himself, ( and I semiquote > ' I would quarrel with the suggestion that anyone in the current group of executives working with me has been particularly "partisan" ' ).
    While, clearly Mr. Wray's statement seems to lack any sort of enthusiasm or specificity (and as such does NOT SEEM notably very strong), it is, nevertheless, an affirmation for the lawful record, which should be taken at face value by the appropriate authorities.

    In the opposite sense, that statement appears as a legitimate --albeit informal -- testimony about the qualities, competence, dedication and fortitude of Mr. McCabe.
    22 years-- may I remind the reader -- is over not one --but more than 2 separate executive administrations. McCabe served under both a Republican and a Democrat.

    So, if partisanship is being cited as Mr. McCabe's primary motivation, then this fact would seem to refute the contention that Mr. McCabe mishandled the Clinton's Foundation issue in terms of not recusing himself in the expected timely manner (and "consistent with the highest of ethical standards of conduct").

    We may also wish to note that Mr. McCabe continued to serve our country for 22 years --apparently honorably-- without any "bad actor" labels ever being made public.

    Thus, if there was ever--indeed -- a so called "bad actor" of Mr. McCabe (including a "track record" of poor choices) then why wasn't Mr. McCabe admonished, censored or even fired a long time ago?

    Or is the Trump Administration going to attempt to pass that blame onto our nation's other honorable (albeit retired) Presidents?

    In Conclusion / Summary

    The least that our elected Congress can do is see the record in it's entirety-- and --if absolutely necessary -- paraphrase it for the betterment of the public's "digestion".

    Then it's key findings should be released directly to the public so that each and every American will know the extent of President Trump's integrity
    and become better acquainted with the longevity of his administration.

    He owes us-- his constituents -- this much respect.

    1) What could possibly have motivated Mr McCabe to act in such a brazen and haphazard way so as to bring serious shame and discredit upon the FBI?

    2) It makes no logical or common sense that someone with his caliber, would knowingly, willfully (and seemingly suddenly) do anything to seriously hurt the very nation he proved he loved.

    3) If he indeed had the intention and audacity to maintain a partisan Bureau, then why is Mr. McCabe's status only now (years later) being assigned the equivalent of a dishonorable discharge? Only now when the Russian Collusion Investigation (RCI) is still very much an open ended "issue" ---seriously increasing in terms of generated interest, intensity of discussion, and the potential impact.

    While both the legacy of Mr. Trump's Administration and the reputation of the Oval Office are at stake, GOP's potential political life seems to be held in the balance of this nauseating mix: allegiance to the core GOP Values is rapidly needing to come to terms with an offshoot, ultranationalist brand of politics. It is essentially an emergence of a another and competing set of conservative visions: a more extreme "populist" branch of the GOP dedicated to pursuing the "Ultranationalist" (and Unpopular) Agenda.

    4) The General Public deserves a better explanation.

    5) Am I crazy or was Mr. McCabe wrongfully smeared?
    It behooves the Whitehouse to come out with more facts in order to prove to the public that a quality Human Resource decision was in fact made and why it was made in such a callous manner.

    In short ,the circumstances revolving around this matter --are (or seem) r--ather suspicious, especially in appearing rather partisan in nature.
    Let both sides prove they aren't partisan.

    I think it would be good, right and natural for the media consuming public to expect the record to be opened in order to substantiate the ethics claims against Mr McCabe directly --using language which could not be misinterpreted or labeled ambiguously.
    Let us also note, that what happened is reasonably well within the duties and rights of the Bureau regardless of politics.

    Given the facts as they relate to the alleged "imposition of partisanship" as a feature of the Bureau it is reasonable to want the details of the meetings concerning Mr. McCabe's future at the Bureau, in particular the choice to terminate Mr McCabe.

    Until a higher security classification exists, the importance of the rules of fairness and the need for Public Access to Good Government should overrule the tradition of confidentiality of such employee files.

    Alternatively, Mr McCabe could sign off on opening up this file (unless of course he does not have any access to it).

    While there are reasons behind keeping such files confidential, this set of circumstances is special. Why?

    Because it directly relates to an investigation that has not yet been declared "over". (an investigation which may never show collusion but one which is important for a variety of other reasons as well as vindicating the President (if in fact that is to be the case).

    Even members of the GOP have indicated that they want to see this investigation to be seen to it's logical end, and without any further wasting of time or the tax payer's money.
    A second reinforcing reason for this argument is the fact that these employees are all employed of, for and by the public domain.

    In fact, the DOJ is --after all--a public entity.

    Thus, it would seem reasonable to conclude that the public has a fundamental Right To Information regarding the "Whys" and "Hows" of what would inevitably become Mr McCabe's Termination hearings.

    Mr. McCabe --with 22 years of Public Service--was fired --and moreover -- in the most insulting way --(only 2 days before retirement after 22 years).
    The man made it that far in a very complex bureaucracy. Doesn't the Public have a right to know why he would jeopardize --not only his hard earned legacy but also his financial retirement as well?

    Lets let the public have a look and have a discussion about the criteria used against Mr McCabe. It also seems reasonable to request from the appropriate authorities, information needed to verify whether or not McCabe was afforded an adequate opportunity to present a defense.

    And while certainly the President is entitled to a cabinet of his own making, it is neither fair nor reasonable in terms of timing for the public to have to go without the necessary formation of good executive government.

    That someone intelligent enough to have risen to the ranks to Deputy Director of The FBI would in any logical way do something that would deny himself a pension and a legacy --supposedly to serve partisan or other influences related to his wife?)--This suggestion is beyond illogical-- as clearly, it ventures into the realm of the absurd.

    It therefore, behooves those involved in the decision to fire Mr McCabe, to be as transparent about their decision making process as possible. Even if certain details are ultimately redacted, it would be a good and fair step forward for the public to receive at least a fair and basic explanation.

    We The People deserve that much.
    Thank You For Reading and God Bless America !

  • Luane Conn

    These goofy Trump haters haven't figured out it is time for the rats to jump off the ship. I've got my popcorn ready, this is the show I have been waiting for.

  • stealthdan

    The transcripts used to entrap Flynn were useless anyway as the investigating body (FBI) determined Flynn never lied to them. Muller choose to financially harangue Flynn via inexhaustible legal funding and threatened his family to get Flynn sign the fake guilty plea. Muller (and several Congressmen as well as this judge) knew Flynn was innocent and they allowed him to be ruined simply because they are obsessed with defeating the President of the United States. Talk about a slew of sleaze that needs to be taken to jail! We are going to need an 18 wheeler to drive around to round up these Obama plants and criminals.

  • greggreen29

    Flynn has lost his house to pay for the legal bills caused by lying to a investigator over a legal meeting with the Russians. Same should happen to McCabe, and Abedin and Mills for lying to investigators about Hilary’s illegal server.

    Will there be justice for all or justice only against republicans?

  • James Bryson

    How many felonies did McCabe commit in the fake Hillary-email non-investigation?

    How compromised was McCabe for sending his FBI resume to Clinton Foundation Board Member, McAuliffe, while McAuilffe was sending $700,000. to McCabes wife?

    How many felonious indiscretions did McCabe commit with Strzok and Page in misusing his position to threaten/attack a duly elected president?

    A hard rain is gonna fall.

  • anton mark

    Andrew Mccabe must be fired because he is a Judas Iscariot

  • Geoffrey Hewitt

    crook louis Lerner from IRS collecting 100 k per year in pension and living in a million dollar home after committing fraud ; pension supported by taxpayer money who have difficulty making ends meet but she could receive 3 million in benefits; THE SWAMP NEEDS CLEANING OUT

  • concernedvoter

    Seems Trump has a fetish with Firing people while they are away on duty to futher humiliate them. He wants to leave these people out at remote locations with no way of getting home?? Then Rants because they got trasportion back home?? Who does this Orange Imbecile believe he is? Caligula?

  • Bev Guyer

    Talk about a witch hunt. McCabe has been a public servant for 22 years and has an impeccable record. Trump doesn't understand that some people are honest and have integrity - neither quality Trump possesses.

  • Emu Cat

    Do what the FBI says, they need to clean their swamp and show that they are not as corrupt as they appear this past ten years with the Democrats in control. FIRE HIM.

  • whitepine

    A little late since he is to retire Friday. Does this make any sense or is it just to cheat him out if his retirement. Sorry, but he earned his retirement.

  • Robin

    This is all Trump...He is a heartless, cruel, Vindictive, cowardly wanna be dictator...He wants McCabe fired because he contradicted Trumps assertion that the FBI rank and file didn't like Comey. McCabe, when asked by a Senate investigation panel about this assertion, said that it isn't accurate. How freaking petty for Trump to push for his firing and having his pension taken away as punishment for disagreeing with him.