Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe late Friday, two days before McCabe’s official retirement was set to take effect and he could begin cashing checks from his lucrative federal pension.
Sessions accepted the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), which determined that McCabe made an unauthorized media disclosure and then was untruthful under oath on multiple occasions when interrogated by investigators for the Department of Justice inspector general (IG).
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Sessions said in a statement. McCabe could be denied part or all of his retirement benefit.
A defiant McCabe issued his own statement, depicting himself and his family as “targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation” — and blasting President Donald Trump.
“The president’s tweets exacerbated and amplified it all,” he stated. “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.”
During “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News Friday night, California attorney and Republican National Committee member Harmeet Dhillon said McCabe should have been dismissed a long time ago.
“I’m glad this action was taken,” she said. “Clearly, Mr. McCabe was at the heart of a number of troubling controversies at the FBI, starting before the election, and then continuing through to today. So maybe this is the beginning of some reckoning happening at the FBI with this head-rolling.”
Harvard Law School Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz told host Laura Ingraham that he would like to examine the evidence against McCabe, since it seems extreme to fire somebody on the eve of his first pension payouts. At the same time, Dershowitz said, the OPR recommendation suggests McCabe’s transgressions were serious.
“They don’t generally go after their own. They generally whitewash their own,” he said. “And when the OPR comes to this conclusion, you really have to give it some credibility.”
George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley agreed.
“They generally whitewash their own. And when the OPR comes to this conclusion, you really have to give it some credibility.”
“This is an exceedingly rare recommendation coming from the Office of Professional Responsibility,” he said. “It’s virtually unheard of for someone who held the position of McCabe.”
Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) told Ingraham that McCabe’s dismissal is a good sign for the country.
“No one gets fired in the swamp,” he said. “That we have a former [acting] head of the FBI who’s now fired I think shows that the system can work. I look at the FBI — not the boots on the ground, but at the top of the FBI — this place is rotten, and thank God Donald Trump was elected so we can start clearing out all of these rotten individuals, who are playing partisanship with one of the most powerful agencies that exists in Washington.”
Fox News contributor and investigative reporter Sarah Carter said her sources indicated the IG has uncovered evidence that could possibly lead to criminal charges.
“There’s a lot of extenuating circumstances here,” she said. “I don’t think we’ve heard everything. I think there’s a lot more than just misleading the IG and the FBI and also leaks, which is what have been reported.”
Retired FBI Special Agent Bobby Chacon told Ingraham that he is not surprised by McCabe’s firing.
“I’m kind of heartened by it … If I had done the same transgressions as Andrew McCabe had done, I would have been fired before now,” he said.
Ron Kessler, author of “The Secrets of the FBI,” said it is good that the country is getting clarity about how the FBI has operated at the highest levels in recent years.
“There has been no case of proven abuse at such a high level of the FBI since William Sessions was fired as FBI director over his abuses,” he said. William Sessions (no relation to the current attorney general) was dismissed by President Bill Clinton in 1993 for abuses related to his position.
Revelations that Peter Strzok, who was a senior counterintelligence official, failed to disclose a personal relationship with U.S. District Judge Rudolph Contreras also emerged on Friday. Contreras served as a judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court and presided over the criminal case against Trump’s first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.
Text messages that Strzok exchanged with FBI lawyer Lisa Page described subterfuge in setting up a meeting with the judge during the same period of time that FBI investigators were hoping to get FISA warrants to eavesdrop on Trump associates.
Strzok told Page that he was going to invite her to a cocktail party.
“Have to come up with some other work people cover for action,” he texted.
Dershowitz said that text is a stunning piece of evidence.
“That’s the smoking gun. The smoking gun is the attempt to meet with him, surreptitiously, with a cover, so that nobody will be able to say they met in a way that required recusal,” he said. “This guy Strzok seems like he is really a piece of work. He should have recused himself initially from any involvement in this case because of the messages he sent.”