U.S. President Donald Trump has hailed the firing of outgoing FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe by Attorney-General Jeff Sessions two days to retirement after two decades of service to the bureau.
McCabe announced his retirement from the bureau abruptly in January and it was to take effect on Sunday.
His dismissal, just days before he was set to retire, puts his full pension and benefits package in jeopardy and is seen as an inglorious end to a career of almost 22 years with the bureau.
Trump responded on Twitter just after midnight on Saturday, calling McCabe’s firing “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy.”
He 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!”
Sessions, in a statement, said an internal FBI investigation recommended dismissal over McCabe’s alleged “lack of candour” about contacts he had with a former Wall Street Journal reporter in 2016.
Sessions said he accepted the recommendation that “concluded that Mr McCabe had made an unauthorised disclosure to the news media and lacked candour – including under oath – on multiple occasions”.
“Based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions said.
Sessions also said in explaining his decision that: “The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability.
“As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candour under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand’”.
However, in a statement issued immediately after his termination was announced, McCabe said the decision was politically motivated.
He said: “The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicised, public servants are attacked.
“And people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
“Here is the reality: “I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey.
“The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.
“The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn.
“The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens”.