The FBI’s former deputy director Andrew McCabe could be fired just days before he officially retires from the agency for disclosing details about the Clinton Foundation investigation to the media in 2016.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is currently reviewing recommendations for McCabe’s firing from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
McCabe stepped down from the duties of his position earlier this year amid investigations into his actions but was not officially fired from the agency. If his is fired, he will likely lose his retirement benefits.
The New York Times explained the details of the internal FBI investigation Wednesday:
Mr. McCabe is ensnared in an internal review that includes an examination of his decision in 2016 to allow F.B.I. officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming during the review, according to the people briefed on the matter. That yet-to-be-released report triggered an F.B.I. disciplinary process that recommended his termination — leaving Mr. Sessions to either accept or reverse that decision.
Lack of candor is a fireable offense, but like so much at the F.B.I., Mr. McCabe’s fate is also entangled in presidential politics and the special counsel investigation. He was involved from the beginning in the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. He is also a potential witness in the inquiry into whether Mr. Trump tried to obstruct justice.
Trump has repeatedly called for McCabe’s firing over the past several months, which leaves whatever decision Sessions makes open to partisan criticism.
As The Times noted:
Firing Mr. McCabe, even on the recommendation of the disciplinary office, would be controversial. Among Mr. McCabe’s allies, the decision would raise the specter that Mr. Sessions was influenced by Mr. Trump’s frequent derisive comments. No deputy director in the history of the F.B.I. has been fired.
But Mr. Sessions would be able to point to a critical inspector general’s report and say he followed Justice Department protocol. The details of why the inspector general viewed Mr. McCabe as not forthcoming are not clear. Though F.B.I. disciplinary records show that drunken driving, domestic violence and assaults have been punished by suspension, when agents are found to have shown a lack of candor under oath, they are commonly fired.
The inspector general, Michael Horowitz, announced last year that he would investigate several contentious decisions made at the F.B.I. and Justice Department during the 2016 presidential campaign. In November, Mr. Horowitz indicated that he planned to issue a single report this spring encompassing his entire review, on matters including the F.B.I.’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
What’s most important about this story is that it provides yet more proof that the FBI was massively politicized throughout the duration of the 2016 presidential contest and beyond.