When the President forces the resignation of a longtime public servant for political reasons, we all lose. That’s what’s happened with Andrew McCabe of the FBI. Officially, the White House distanced itself from the decision saying Donald Trump was not a part of the process. He didn’t have to be. Trump’s feelings had been telegraphed for weeks. McCabe, the deputy director of the agency, was placed on leave as of today. He will officially retire in March. McCabe ran the FBI after Donald Trump fired James Comey. Trump allegedly asked McCabe who he voted for in the presidential election. McCabe said he didn’t vote. It was downhill from there. Trump has claimed that McCabe is biased and wanted him gone. Late today The New York Times reported that McCabe told friends he was pressured to leave by new director Christopher Wray.
So this is no voluntary retirement. McCabe is being forced out by a president who demands loyalty from a law enforcement agency which is supposed to be totally independent.
The great irony of the purging McCabe by @POTUS and his minions is that they now have thoroughly politicized the FBI, neutered the director and called into question the agency’s independence in the future.
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) January 29, 2018
McCabe also incurred the President’s wrath when he learned that McCabe’s wife, who was running as a Democrat for a Virginia State Senate seat accepted nearly $500,000 in donations from Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton family friend.
But there’s more. According to NBC News, Trump was furious that James Comey was allowed to return to Washington on a government jet after he was fired. He called McCabe to vent:
“McCabe told the president he hadn’t been asked to authorize Comey’s flight, but if anyone had asked, he would have approved it, three people familiar with the call recounted to NBC News.
The president was silent for a moment and then turned on McCabe, suggesting he ask his wife how it feels to be a loser — an apparent reference to a failed campaign for state office in Virginia that McCabe’s wife made in 2015.
McCabe replied: “OK, sir.” Trump then hung up the phone.”
Late today, former director James Comey applauded McCabe for his service:
Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.
— James Comey (@Comey) January 30, 2018