Washington: The Trump administration has fired the number two official at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) accusing him of making an unauthorised disclosure to the media. Andrew McCabe, the FBI Deputy Director, who was set to retire on Sunday, in a lengthy statement fired back alleging that his termination was an effort on the part of the administration to undermine the investigation in the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election by counsel Robert Mueller. The announcement by Attorney General Jeff Sessions late last night comes within days of President Donald Trump firing his Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Sessions said McCabe has been fired based on the recommendation of an internal FBI office that handles disciplinary matters. FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) and Office of Inspector General (OIG) had found McCabe made an unauthorised disclosure to the news media and “lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions,” the attorney general said. “The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability. I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions said
McCabe refuted the allegations. “The idea that I was dishonest is just wrong. This is part of an effort to discredit me as a witness,” he said in a lengthy statement. Notably McCabe had stepped own in January and had taken leave of absence.
According to reports, McCabe was among the first at the FBI to scrutinise possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. And he is a potential witness to the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, they said. “Mr Trump has taunted Mr McCabe both publicly and privately, and Republican allies have cast him as the centre of a ‘deep state’ effort to undermine the Trump presidency,” a report said.
McCabe said for the last year and a half, he and his family have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on their reputation and his service to this country. “Articles too numerous to count have leveled every sort of false, defamatory and degrading allegation against us. The president’s tweets have amplified and exacerbated it all. He called for my firing. He called for me to be stripped of my pension after more than 20 years of service. And all along we have said nothing, never wanting to distract from the mission of the FBI by addressing the lies told and repeated about us. No more,” he said.
He also charged the president. “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 release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President,” the statement said.
“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 said.
A day earlier, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that McCabe’s troubling behaviour” was “well-documented,” insisting he was “by most accounts a bad actor.” McCabe was involved in FBI’s investigation into former secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email server and the Russia probe. (PTI)