While many speculated that Trump’s defamatory tweets regarding former FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe may be a signal of his intention to fire him, the announcement that he was being removed from the agency just 26 hours before his retirement was still shocking.
McCabe released a statement following his termination, and what he revealed was even more of a shocker.
‘This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.’
McCabe continued by saying that his firing was also a way to silence him in testifying to the actions of the president following former FBI Director James Comey’s firing, which many see as obstruction of justice into the alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russian government operatives.
‘Here is the reality: I am 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. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens.’
Several details in the story of McCabe’s firing match details of Comey’s firing. While the Trump administration insists that they took action due to McCabe’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as Secretary of State, and insisted that this mishandling was due to McCabe and Comey’s partisanship and their bias against him, at least some of the actions by McCabe that are being touted as suspect occurred well before Trump’s election to the presidency and harmed Clinton, not Trump.
The Trump administration originally also tried to paint Comey’s firing as the result of the mishandling of that investigation, although those actions also occurred before Trump’s election and even before Trump’s announcement of his intention to run. Comey’s actions also hurt Clinton and her campaign for the presidency when Comey announced a new investigation into her emails just 11 days before the election. The story behind Trump’s reasoning changed as the president sat for an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt and said that Comey’s firing was related to his Russian investigation.
Both men were also questioned by Trump about their loyalty to him as president. Comey has testified that Trump demanded his loyalty during a dinner with Trump shortly after the election. McCabe has said that Trump called him into the Oval Office to ask who he voted for in 2016.
While Trump says now that McCabe’s firing was due to his discussions with reporters about the email investigation and his lack of candor in testimony, his previous statements have indicated that he believed McCabe was biased due to donations to his wife’s campaign for a Virginia State Senate seat.
During an interview with The New York Times, Trump even insisted that former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is not Hillary Clinton, donated to the campaign of McCabe’s wife. Neither McAuliffe nor Clinton donated to Dr. Jill McCabe’s campaign; those donations came from a super PAC tied to McAuliffe’s and the Virginia Democratic Party. Those donations, as well as Dr. McCabe’s failed campaign, also came long before McCabe’s service as deputy director of the FBI.
Those details have not deterred Trump from spinning his story about McCabe, as facts seem to mean little while Trump works to remove anyone who can testify to his obstruction or the investigation into Russian collusion by the Trump campaign.
Featured image via Getty/Alex Wong