Andrew McCabe, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director, has accused President Donald Trump’s administration of targeting him after being sacked by the United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In a statement on Friday, Sessions said he felt justified in firing McCabe after the Justice Department’s internal watchdog found he had leaked information to reporters and misled investigators concerning the Russian investigation.
“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity and accountability,” the Attorney General added.
But McCabe, who played a crucial role in the FBI’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, denied those claims. He went even further and claimed he is facing a witch hunt by the White House.
In a lengthy statement, McCabe said he was being politically targeted because he corroborated the former FBI Director James Comey’s claims that President Trump tried to pressure him into killing the Russia investigation.
Comey was dumped last year and President Trump acknowledged in a televised interview that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”
McCabe’s dismissal came two days before his 50th birthday when he would have been eligible to retire from the FBI with his full pension. The firing, which comes nine months after President Trump sacked Comey, puts his benefits in jeopardy.
“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 his statement.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort … to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”
Trump posted a message on his twitter account early on Saturday, praising the action and blasting McCabe and Comey. He wrote: “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI … A great day for Democracy.
“Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI,” he added.
McCabe had stepped down from his position as the FBI deputy director in January but remained on leave pending retirement.
His departure was triggered by a critical report from the Justice Department’s inspector general that eventually led the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to recommend he be sacked.
The report, which has yet to be made public, says McCabe misled investigators about his communications with a former Wall Street Journal reporter, who was writing about McCabe’s role in probes tied to Clinton.
These included an investigation of the family’s charitable foundation. In his statement, McCabe denied ever misleading investigators.
– with reporting from Reuters