Wray Rejects McCabe’s Accusations About His Firing

FBI director told NBC the disgraced former deputy director's dismissal wasn't 'based on political or partisan influence'

FBI Director Christopher Wray dismissed former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s claims that his firing was politically motivated, telling NBC News in an interview Wednesday that it wasn’t “based on political or partisan influence.”

McCabe oversaw the FBI’s investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server and address to conduct official U.S. diplomatic business. Attorney General Jeff Sessions accepted the recommendation from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) that he fire McCabe Friday — just two days before McCabe was to retire with full pension benefits.

The OPR recommended McCabe’s firing based on evidence presented to it by the Department of Justice inspector general (IG) that he misled investigators during their investigation into his conduct.

McCabe lashed out in a statement after his firing, saying that he was “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 [former FBI Director] James Comey.”

He also claimed that “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.”

But Wray rejected McCabe’s assessment during his interview with NBC News.

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“I am committed to doing things objectively and independently and by the book,” Wray said. “I think that has to extend not just to our investigations, our intelligence analysis, but it also has to extend to personnel decisions and disciplinary decisions.”

McCabe announced his resignation early in January reportedly to avoid a demotion amid the ongoing investigation into his conduct.

Although Wray commented that he couldn’t go into much detail about the process that led to McCabe’s firing, he said, “But I will tell you that my commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that, most importantly, it is not based on political or partisan influence… it’s something I am utterly unyielding on.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, also had dismissed McCabe’s allegations of political bias against him during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Gowdy noted that McCabe had “undercut his credibility all by himself” by lying to investigators.

“Make no mistake — the FBI is who recommended that he be fired. It wasn’t crazy House Republicans and it wasn’t the Trump administration,” Gowdy said. “It was his own fellow bureau agents.”

Related: Gowdy Says Terminated McCabe Was His Own Worst Enemy

Although Wray insisted that the FBI is committed to making decisions “not based on political or partisan influence,” the agency is still dealing with the aftermath of Comey’s tenure during former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tenure amid the 2016 presidential election.

In particular, the FBI fielded criticism after a declassified memo from GOP members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence alleged that bias within the Department of Justice and the FBI against President Donald Trump led to the surveillance of the president’s campaign associates. The memo also claimed that the FBI used the unverified anti-Trump dossier alleging Trump-Russia collusion to renew surveillance warrants.

PoliZette writer Kathryn Blackhurst can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter.

(photo credit, homepage and article images: NBC News)

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