Two days after a New York Times report suggested it would happen, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just two days before his planned retirement. McCabe, who stepped down from his position officially in late January following public and private criticism from President Trump, was accused of misleading justice department investigators and leaking information to the press. His firing was confirmed by the Washington Post, CNN, and several news outlets hours after Fox News prematurely published a draft story claiming it had happened.
According to the Post, Sessions broke the news in a statement late Friday night:
Sessions announced the decision in a statement just before 10 p.m., noting that both the Justice Department Inspector General and the FBI office that handles discipline had found “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
He said based on those findings and the recommendation of the department’s senior career official, “I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately.”
As CNN notes, McCabe was originally expected to retire on Sunday, which is his 50th birthday. Yet his firing “could now place a portion of his anticipated pension, earned after over two decades of service, in significant jeopardy.” The Post adds that he could presumably “bring a legal challenge” in light of the timing of Sessions’s announcement. Even so, McCabe’s firing came as a result of the Justice Department Inspector General and FBI’s disciplinary office’s recommendation after finding “that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
In a statement obtained by ABC News, McCabe balked at the claims made against him by declaring he was “being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.”
UPDATE: In case there was any doubt, Trump tweeted his enthusiastic support for McCabe’s firing late Friday night.