Seeking a way to escape Russia probe scrutiny
Just hours after the FBI’s top lawyer, James Baker, was reassigned, WaPo reports that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will retire in a few months – once he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.
McCabe, who has been the target of Republican critics for more than a year, spent hours in Congress this past week, facing questions behind closed doors from members of three committees.
Republicans said they were dissatisfied with his answers:
The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), has called for McCabe’s ouster, saying he “ought to go for reasons of being involved in some of the things that took place in the previous administration. We want to make sure that there’s not undue political influence within the FBI — the [Justice] Department and the FBI.”
Democrats called it a partisan hounding:
Democrats emerging from Thursday’s questioning of McCabe urged him to resist Republicans’ calls to step down, saying the GOP’s new focus on McCabe smells of political opportunism. “Mr. McCabe should in no way be fired by biased political commentary,” said Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Tex.).
But whichever it was, The Washington Post reports, according to people familiar with the matter, McCabe plans to retire in a few months when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.
As a reminder, McCabe was former director James B. Comey’s right-hand man, a position that involved him in most of the FBI’s actions that vex President Trump as well as the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a matter that still riles Democrats.
McCabe won’t become eligible for his full pension until early March. People close to him say he plans to retire as soon as he hits that mark.
“He’s got about 90 days, and some of that will be holiday time. He can make it,’’ said one.
A spokesman for McCabe declined to comment, as did an FBI spokesman.
There is good reason to question McCabe’s perspective and un-biasedness…
His wife, a Democratic candidate for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign donations from the political action committee led by a close ally of the Clintons. He had also been part of discussions with Justice Department officials that critics said prevented FBI agents from more aggressively pursuing their investigation of the Clinton Foundation. Agents were trying to determine if donations to the foundation were made with an expectation of government favors from Clinton or her allies.
After reports about those issues surfaced in October 2016, then-candidate Trump singled out McCabe for criticism, and congressional Republicans demanded detailed answers from the FBI about his role in the Clinton probes — questions they insist remain unanswered.
McCabe’s role is being examined by the Justice Department’s inspector general, who has said a report on how the Clinton probe was handled should be finished by spring.
Republicans are also focusing on the FBI’s relationship with the author of a dossier containing allegations against Trump. The bureau offered to pay the author of that document after the election to keep pursuing leads and information, but the agreement was never finalized, The Washington Post reported earlier this year.
And most recently, one of his senior advisers, FBI lawyer Lisa Page, had exchanged numerous pro-Clinton and anti-Trump text messages with Peter Strzok, the top FBI agent on Mueller’s probe. Strzok was removed by Mueller when he learned of their communications; Page had left the Mueller team two weeks earlier for what officials said were unrelated reasons. In one text, Strzok texted that he thought Clinton should win “100,000,000-0.’’
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