AG Sessions fires former FBI deputy director McCabe and McCabe fires back

Washington insiders must be wondering what will happen next after the last-minute decision by A.G. Jeff Sessions to terminate former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe only hours before his retirement would have been effective.  This action will surely give partisans plenty to fight over during the coming days and months.

We must remember how this came about.  This action demonstrates the danger in draining the Washington swamp and the resistance within the establishment to President Trump and his administration.  The McCabe pension was reported to be worth up to $1.8 million, as he is 50 years old and could easily receive 30 years of pension for 20 years of work.  This loss certainly could make an enemy of the former acting FBI director. 

McCabe (a lawyer) issued a public statement that is a political response and an argument for a defamatory claim against the president. 

I have been an FBI Special Agent for over 21 years.  I spent half of that time investigating Russian Organized Crime as a street agent and Supervisor in New York City.  I have spent the second half of my career focusing on national security issues and protecting this country from terrorism.  I served in some of the most challenging, demanding investigative and leadership roles in the FBI.  And I was privileged to serve as Deputy Director during a particularly tough time.

For the last year and a half, my family and I have been the targets of an unrelenting assault on our reputation and my 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.

The investigation by the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility.  The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI's involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton.  I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure.  The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes.  Nothing was further from the truth.  In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.

The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor.  As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that.  It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter.  It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week.  In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request.  The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth.  During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me.  And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.

But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture.  The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people. 

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 OIG's focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn.  The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens.  Thursday's comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.

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.

I have always prided myself on serving my country with distinction and integrity, and I always encouraged those around me to do the same.  Just ask them.  To have my career end in this way, and to be accused of lacking candor when at worst I was distracted in the midst of chaotic events, is incredibly disappointing and unfair.  But it will not erase the important work I was privileged to be a part of, the results of which will in the end be revealed for the country to see. 

I have unfailing faith in the men and women of the FBI and I am confident that their efforts to seek justice will not be deterred.

He will likely file a lawsuit to gain his pension.  He will have to demonstrate that he was grievously treated by the Justice Department to be successful.  Within the legal system, he will have sympathetic ears, but he will have an uphill battle since the professional and non-partisan OPR of the agency has recommended this action.

During the past several years, 17 FBI officials have been terminated for false statements, not under oath.  McCabe was accused by the OPR of making false statements about leaks to the media concerning investigations under oath.  The removal of former FBI director James Comey led to the present investigation when Democrats demanded a response against President Trump.

Be careful what you wish for when you do not have all the facts.  Representative Adam Schiff has led the argument in Congress against Trump for over a year.  Now the House Intelligence Committee has stopped the Russian collusion investigation for lack of any evidence.  Several senior members of the Senate committee have recommended criminal prosecution of several actors involved in the FISA Court warrant to surveil Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.  The final report of Justice Department I.G. Horowitz may contain further damaging information against longtime members of the department who rose to power during the Obama administration.

Trump opponents will decry this action by Sessions as bowing to White House pressure, but it is exceedingly rare for the internal professional responsibility office to recommend this kind of discipline.  Trump-supporters will say Sessions waited too long and is too timid.  The problem for both sides to consider is when the bloodletting will end and who will be next.  Much of the leadership of the FBI has been reassigned or removed.  At the Justice Department, leadership changes have hit powerful actors, including Bruce Ohr.

For objective observers, the position of Deputy A.G. Rod Rosenstein is still questionable.  He appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who has been in search of a crime perpetrated by the Trump campaign but has found unrelated issues and perjury traps.  Calls for a second special counsel by many Republicans might pursue Mueller, Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, Ohr, former A.G. Loretta Lynch, FBI agents Strzok and Page, and others unknown. 

Friday afternoons have traditionally been used for dumping information that an administration finds unpalatable.  Perhaps this is the problem for Sessions, as he waited 'til 10 P.M. to make the announcement.  He relies upon Rosenstein for daily operation of the Justice Department.  Since Rosenstein signed at least one FISA warrant request, will he be implicated under further investigations? 

Will the FISA Court system be attacked since so few applications are rejected?  The most recent text messages between the FBI lovebirds demonstrate a compromise of Judge Contreras, who suddenly was replaced after accepting the guilty plea by former foreign affairs adviser General Michael Flynn.  His plea could be overturned. 

The swamp includes many establishment Republicans who oppose Trump.  His boorish behavior is grounds for their opposition.  Further, their ability to feed at the trough is threatened by his actions.  As a businessman they expect to find some irregularity which will invalidate his leadership and presidency. 

The constant attacks against his family and associates aim to weaken his resolve.  The Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans still do not understand his personality.  The media attacks only further his determination to drain the swamp and defeat his political enemies.  The removal of Tillerson was such a salvo and should be a warning that more is to come.  The combatants should ready for bigger battles.

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