FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has told FBI staff he is stepping down effective Monday — a move that surprised even those expecting his March retirement.
McCabe was a central target of President Donald Trump’s ire toward the FBI over its involvement in the investigation into potential collusion between his campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
He was eligible to retire in March, but with his accumulated leave, he was able to step down earlier.
Trump learned about the departure Monday morning, a White House official told CNN. The President did not answer a reporter’s question at the White House about McCabe’s departure.
Various sources described McCabe’s departure as a mutual decision, while others said it was the result of pressure to step down. One source briefed on the matter said McCabe announced his decision to senior executives and portrayed it as his choice. The source disputed the characterization that McCabe was removed.
But a source familiar with the matter said FBI Director Christopher Wray told McCabe he is bringing in his own team, which he would not be a part of, and that it was McCabe’s decision whether to stay at the FBI or leave.
FBI Assistant Deputy Director David Bowdich has been appointed as the bureau’s acting deputy director.
Trump has kept nonstop pressure on McCabe ever since he became acting director in May, using the longtime law enforcement official as a punching bag — both publicly and privately — to vent his frustrations about the FBI. In December, Trump tweeted “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”
And in July 2017, Trump flatly asked why Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not fired McCabe yet.
“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives,” Trump wrote. “Drain the Swamp!”