The president’s assault on the F.B.I. claimed another victim Saturday, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe revealed his plans to retire next year, according to a Washington Post report.
“McCabe, 49, holds a unique position in the political firestorm surrounding the FBI,” Devlin Barrett and Karoun Demirjian at The Post report. “He was former director James B. Comey’s right-hand man, a position that involved him in most of the FBI’s actions that vex President Trump as well as the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, a matter that still riles Democrats.”
This is all part of the same silent purge the president and his allies in congress and the right wing media have conducted to rid the Department of Justice of people he doesn’t think will protect him.
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It began with Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired ostensibly for doing her job – refusing to implement an illegal executive order. We found out later, however, that she was sacked after telling the president’s lawyers that his National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, had lied to congress, and to the DOJ.
Next he fired Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, as part of mass termination of federal prosecutors. Bharara’s sacking was notable because he was told previously by then President-Elect Trump that his job was safe.
The most high profile firing was, or course, F.B.I. Director James Comey, which made headlines not only for the magnitude of the move, but for the way the White House mishandled its aftermath in the press. At least two different reasons for Comey’s termination were cited by administration officials, followed by a third reason – Comey’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russia – cited by the president himself days later in an interview with NBC anchor Lester Holt.
The move eventually backfired when congress appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to continue Comey’s investigation independent of both the DOJ and congress. Since then, the purge has gone silent. Gone are the blunt firings that culminated in Comey’s sacking. But they’ve been replaced by a pressure campaign against remaining officials who the president and his minions in congress consider dangerous to this presidency’s survival.
For the past several weeks, McCabe has found himself at the top of that list. Now, it appears, Trump’s purge has claimed another major scalp.