Ex-FBI deputy Director Andrew McCabe fired days before retiring
Washington : US Attorney General Jeff Sessions has fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, less than two days before his retirement, ending the career of an official who had risen to serve as second-in-command at the bureau, the media reported.
McCabe had more recently been regularly taunted by President Donald Trump and besieged by accusations that he had misled internal investigators at the Justice Department, reports CNN.
In a blistering statement after the announcement late Friday night, McCabe said his firing is part of a larger effort to discredit the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
"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," McCabe said in the statement.
He was expected to retire on Sunday, on his 50th birthday, when he would have become eligible to receive early retirement benefits.
But Friday's termination could place a portion of his anticipated pension, earned after more than two decades of service, in significant jeopardy, CNN reported.
In response to the firing, President Donald Trump tweeted: "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!"
McCabe, accompanied by his lawyer, tried making a last-ditch effort on Thursday to avoid the firing, meeting with officials at the deputy attorney general's office at the Justice Department for several hours while Sessions was travelling, but to no avail.
The origin of MCabe's dramatic fall stems from an internal review conducted by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, reports CNN.
The report, details of which have not been publicly released, is said to conclude that McCabe misled investigators about his role in directing other officials at the FBI to speak to The Wall Street Journal about his involvement in a public corruption investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
Horowitz's office is continuing to investigate how the Justice Department and the FBI handled sensitive investigations leading up to the 2016 presidential election, including the probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server, and a more global report is expected this year.
McCabe's firing comes after Trump on Tuesday sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, ending his short but tumultuous tenure as the nations chief diplomat. CIA Director Mike Pompeo will take over the top position.
On Wednesday, Trump named conservative TV analyst Larry Kudlow to replace his top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, who quit over trade disagreements, The Washington Post reported.
On Thursday, it was revealed that Trump had decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his National Security Adviser and was actively discussing potential replacements, according to The Washington Post.