Whoa: Jeff Sessions may fire Andrew McCabe -- days before he qualifies for federal pension

He spent 21 years at the FBI. He’ll qualify for a pension four days from now.

Unless he gets fired first.

Look at it this way: Most adults, especially young adults, will have no choice but to keep working during their golden years thanks to the inevitable implosion of federal entitlements. McCabe will just be living the new American dream.

Mr. McCabe is ensnared in an internal review that includes an examination of his decision in 2016 to allow F.B.I. officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming during the review, according to the people briefed on the matter. That yet-to-be-released report triggered an F.B.I. disciplinary process that recommended his termination — leaving Mr. Sessions to either accept or reverse that decision…

Now, Mr. Sessions is the final arbiter of Mr. McCabe’s dismissal, shortly before his retirement takes effect Sunday. Though no decision has been made, people inside the Justice Department expect him to be fired before Friday, a decision that would jeopardize his pension as a 21-year F.B.I. veteran…

Mr. Sessions would be able to point to a critical inspector general’s report and say he followed Justice Department protocol. The details of why the inspector general viewed Mr. McCabe as not forthcoming are not clear. Though F.B.I. disciplinary records show that drunken driving, domestic violence and assaults have been punished by suspension, when agents are found to have shown a lack of candor under oath, they are commonly fired.

For all the right-wing suspicions about McCabe’s liberal bias, from supposedly colluding with Peter Strzok to try to take down Trump to supposedly admitting that there would have been no Russiagate probe without the dubious Steele dossier, it’s his investigation of Hillary Clinton that might land him unemployed and without a pension. McCabe went on “terminal leave” after Chris Wray saw something concerning in the upcoming IG report about McCabe. Presumably that was the “lack of candor” described above when McCabe was questioned by the IG about a news story on the Clinton Foundation that appeared shortly before the election. That story claimed that the Obama DOJ was trying to slow-walk an FBI investigation of the Foundation; apparently McCabe himself authorized sources to tell the paper that he had defended the FBI’s authority to keep investigating to his DOJ bosses. A bad headline for Hillary, needless to say. And potentially a very bad outcome for McCabe for being “not forthcoming” about it with the IG.

It sounds like Sessions has all the cover he’d need to drop the axe on McCabe. The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility has recommended that McCabe be fired and, as noted, “lack of candor” is typically punished with termination. The X factor, as always, is Trump. McCabe’s allies inside the Bureau surely don’t like the fact that he’s been a punching bag for Trump and the broader GOP for months, replete with insults about his wife. Trump has also complained publicly about McCabe’s pension, remember?


Without all of that political baggage, Sessions could fire him and claim, justifiably, that it was all done by the book, however unfortunate it may be that McCabe would be denied his nest egg. Because he’s been saddled with that baggage, though, Sessions will inevitably be attacked as doing Trump’s dirty work by humiliating a political enemy at the Bureau if he cans him. Case in point, from the editor of Benjamin Wittes’s anti-Trump Lawfare site:


Sessions may feel some sympathy for McCabe, knowing firsthand what it’s like to be a presidential scapegoat publicly lashed by POTUS on social media. He also knows that Trump’s doing some spring cleaning in his cabinet and that he’s highly likely to be on his way out at the DOJ soon too, in which case he has little to lose by pissing Trump off in refusing to fire McCabe. To the contrary, he might enjoy the opportunity to show some defiance. He could even argue that it’d be unfair to accelerate McCabe’s firing in the name of denying him his pension since, after all, the IG report hasn’t even been formally issued yet.

Or does he go in the opposite direction, canning McCabe on the theory that Trump will be pleased and might reward him by leaving him in charge at the DOJ for awhile longer? Tick tock.

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Jazz Shaw 7:31 PM on October 02, 2022