FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who is slated to retire from the bureau in the coming days, may be fired before he can do so, Fox News has confirmed.
Sources told Fox News that Attorney General Jeff Sessions may fire the top FBI official, who was removed from his second-in-command post at the bureau and announced he was going on “terminal leave” in January.
McCabe’s possible firing comes amid an inspector general investigation that is expected to be critical of his handling of the Clinton e-mail probe, a source told The Associated Press.
If he is terminiated by the end of the day on Friday, March 16, it could prevent him from receiving his pension benefits.
Republicans have long voiced conflict-of-interest complaints over McCabe’s ties to the Democratic Party, including his wife receiving donations for a failed 2015 Senate run from a group tied to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Here’s what you need to know about McCabe’s FBI career and the controversies that have followed.
What should I know about McCabe’s FBI career?
McCabe started at the FBI in 1996 as a special agent and has “held leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division, the National Security Branch, and the Washington Field Office,” the FBI says.
In July 2015, a press release announced that then-FBI director James Comey had appointed McCabe the FBI’s associate deputy director. Comey later named McCabe the bureau’s deputy director in January 2016.
“Andy’s 19 years of experience, combined with his vision, judgment, and ability to communicate make him a perfect fit for this job,” Comey said in a statement at the time.
After President Trump fired Comey in May, McCabe was acting director of the FBI from May 9, 2017, until Aug. 2, 2017. Trump’s pick to replace Comey, Christopher Wray, was sworn in on Aug. 2.
WHO IS FBI DIRECTOR CHRISTOPHER WRAY?
What about his handling of the Clinton email probe?
The inspector general’s office, which for more than a year investigated the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, has concluded that McCabe authorized FBI officials to speak with a journalist for an October 2016 story in The Wall Street Journal, according to The New York Times.
Though Trump has called McCabe biased, the story in question actually undercut that narrative and suggested that FBI officials wanted to more actively probe the Clinton Foundation but were discouraged from more aggressive steps by the Obama Justice Department.
However, a source told the Associated Press that McCabe is suspected of having not been forthcoming with officials from the inspector general’s office who were investigating the media leak — an allegation he has denied.
In January, The Wall Street Journal reported that McCabe knew of thousands of emails related to the Clinton investigation for at least a month before former FBI Director James Comey told Congress about them.
What is the “Andy” text message?
FBI agent Peter Strzok was dismissed from Mueller’s Russia probe after being linked to a number of anti-Trump messages, including those calling Trump a “menace” and a “loathsome human.”
An Aug. 15, 2016 text message Strzok sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page apparently references an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the 2016 election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok said in the text message. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
The “Andy” mentioned in the text was possibly a reference to McCabe.
What about his wife’s state senate campaign?
McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia state senate seat in 2015. The political action committee for then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and Clinton ally, donated $467,500 to her campaign, while the Virginia Democratic party gave $207,788, The Wall Street Journal reported. Andrew McCabe was associate deputy director of the FBI at the time.
Andrew McCabe “played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind,” the FBI told the Journal in a statement. “Months after the completion of her campaign, then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
Trump has been critical of the donations.
In the end, though, Dr. Jill McCabe lost the race to her Republican opponent, incumbent Dick Black.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Barnini Chakraborty Madeline Farber and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report. The Associated Press also contributed to this report.