U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former No. 2 official who was deeply involved in the agency’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and was repeatedly criticized by President Donald Trump, he said on Friday.
“Based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions said.
McCabe’s dismissal came two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his full pension. The firing – which comes nine months after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey – puts McCabe’s pension in jeopardy.
It also is likely to raise questions about whether McCabe received an overly harsh punishment due to political pressure by the Republican president, who has blasted McCabe on Twitter and called for his ouster.
“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,” McCabe said in a statement.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort … to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”
On Thursday, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the decision was up to the Justice Department but said “we do think that it is well documented that he has had some very troubling behavior and by most accounts a bad actor and should have some cause for concern.”