What are we about to find out that might make Andrew McCabe’s continued tenure at the FBI untenable?
NBC News: Multiple U.S. officials say that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down from his post today and taking "terminal leave" meaning that he will stay on until his retirement in March (that was always his plan) so he can receive full retirement benefits.
— Tom Winter (@Tom_Winter) January 29, 2018
Trump Jr is preemptively spiking the football:
I wonder why??? https://t.co/mMeOLynscm
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) January 29, 2018
Strange yet possibly true: The timing with the big memo vote is a pure coincidence and this was McCabe’s plan all along. Remember this WaPo story from December? The Post reported at the time that McCabe was planning to retire “early next year” but to use up his accumulated leave to remain on the payroll until March, when he’d qualify for a federal pension. The president didn’t like that:
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
Well, here we are. It’s “early next year” and, just as WaPo said, McCabe’s using his vacation time as a glide path to taxpayer-remunerated retirement. Memo Day is a very strange moment for him to execute his plan, but it really might be coincidental.
Or … it might not be. From Fox News:
** BREAKING ** McCabe OUT at FBI
Source familiar says that, in advance of the IG report, McCabe was told to begin what is referred to as “terminal leave.”
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) January 29, 2018
It may not be The Memo that McCabe is worried about. The Memo is a partisan document; the DOJ’s IG report isn’t. Democrats can spin for McCabe on the former but not the latter. Also, a source quoted in the December WaPo piece claimed that McCabe had around 90 days of leave time saved up. If that’s true he could have quit at the start of the new year and easily made it to March. Why quit now?
If it’s coincidences you’re after, how’s this for a coincidence?
Colleague Catherine Herridge rpts FBI Director Wray went to CapHill Sunday to view 4 pg memo on FISA abuses
— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 29, 2018
Follow the timeline. Trump and Sessions have been leaning on Chris Wray to dump McCabe for awhile now, with Wray allegedly resisting to the point where he threatened to quit if they didn’t back off. Then, yesterday, he finally reads the Nunes memo. Now, 24 hours later, with the House set to vote on whether to release the memo, McCabe suddenly decides it’s time to end his career with the Bureau even though allegedly he had enough vacation time amassed to have done that weeks ago.
That’s a lot of coincidences. Too many, maybe:
Source tells @CBSNews's Pat Milton that McCabe was forced to step down. He's currently on leave and will officially retire in March.
— Julianna Goldman (@juliannagoldman) January 29, 2018
“Forced,” huh? I’ve said it before myself but I agree with Noah Rothman here, that McCabe should have recused himself from the Hillary Emailgate probe given the appearance of impropriety from his wife accepting political donations from Terry McAuliffe’s operation. It’s a black mark on his record but it’s already priced into his reputation, which makes me think it’s not the reason why McCabe is being forced out. What is? Stay tuned.
Update: If you’re invested in the “pure coincidence” theory, here’s something important from Fox:
A source familiar tells Fox News it would be accurate to say McCabe was, “Removed.” Further, I’m told this is most likely the earliest date possible for the FBI to remove him and still leave him fully eligible for his pension. #FoxNews
— Jake Gibson (@JakeBGibson) January 29, 2018
If that’s true then McCabe couldn’t have gone on leave weeks ago. Today was the first available day to do so — coincidentally, Memo Day. But we still have that report of him being “forced out” and the curious timing of McCabe departing a day after Wray finally read the memo.
Update: “Removed,” says Fox News.
Top FBI official Andrew McCabe has been “removed” from his post as deputy director, Fox News is told, leaving the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans including President Trump.
Lefties will claim that’s unreliable because it’s coming from the Trump fans at Fox. But … CNN is reporting the same thing:
From our Justice team One source said FBI Deputy Director McCabe's departure was not in the plans as of Friday. The source said McCabe was told this morning to step down. A second source described McCabe’s departure as being “removed”.
— Steve Brusk (@stevebruskCNN) January 29, 2018
Something happened over the weekend, apparently, to make McCabe a liability. Chris Wray reportedly read Nunes’s memo this weekend. Hmmmm.
Update: Did Trump drop the axe on McCabe? Nope, says Sarah Huckabee Sanders. It wasn’t us.
At WH Briefing, @PressSec says Pres Trump played no role in decision of FBI Dep Dir McCabe to step down, though stands by criticism of him. Sanders says Pres retains full confidence in FBI Dir Chris Wrap. pic.twitter.com/Hwo5bOH09N
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) January 29, 2018