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March 15, 2018

FBI Recommends Lying McCabe Be Fired

After the critical recommendation, it’s now up to AG Jeff Sessions to determine whether he is terminated.

Four days ahead of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s planned official retirement, the FBI’s disciplinary office has recommended that he be fired, which would preclude him from receiving retirement benefits. (When he “stepped down” in January he took early leave, so he is still employed at the bureau.) The decision on whether to follow through on the recommendation to fire McCabe now rests with Attorney General Jeff Sessions. A Justice Department spokeswoman explained, “The Department follows a prescribed process by which an employee may be terminated. 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.”

According to reports, the impetus behind the recommendation has to do with McCabe’s handling of the 2016 investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails — specifically, as The Washington Post reports, “for allowing two high-ranking bureau officials to sit down with the Wall Street Journal as the news outlet prepared a report in 2016 on an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s family foundation, then misleading the inspector general’s team about his actions.” In other words, McCabe lied when questioned by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz.

So we have at least part of the answer to the question of why McCabe suddenly stepped down early, even after FBI Director Christopher Wray had previously resisted pressure from President Donald Trump to remove him. But was this the only reason for the FBI’s disciplinary office’s recommendation? For a 21-year veteran of the agency, this explanation for recommending McCabe’s termination and ensuing loss of pension appears harsh. Is there more to it? Is McCabe a convenient fall guy for a greater corruption scandal within Barack Obama’s Justice Department? He was almost unquestionably a key player in it.

Horowitz is also investigating allegations of misconduct by former FBI Director James Comey, specifically regarding his handling of the Clinton investigation. It will be interesting to learn what Horowitz finds.

Finally, it’s now up to Sessions to decide McCabe’s fate. Clearly, Trump, who has long called for McCabe’s removal, would feel the decision is merited, but will Sessions, who is himself rumored to be high on Trump’s list for replacement, placate the president’s desires? In so doing, would he save his own job?

Update 3/16: McCabe was indeed fired — a mere 26 hours before he could retire with benefits.

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