Andrew McCabe, the second highest official at the FBI, is reportedly stepping down.
NBC’s Pete Williams broke the story on-air Monday, announcing that McCabe moved up the time-table for his departure and is out of the FBI effective today.
According to NBC, McCabe is on leave and will remain on the FBI’s payroll until he is eligible for retirement with full benefits in mid-March.
Andrew McCabe steps down effective today as deputy director of the FBI, multiple sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News.
McCabe will remain on the FBI payroll, on “terminal leave” until he's eligible to retire with full benefits in mid-March.
— Craig Melvin (@craigmelvin) January 29, 2018
The President learned about McCabe’s departure on Monday morning, a White House official told CNN.
At Monday’s press briefing, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders denied any role by the Trump administration in McCabe’s departure.
NEW: Press Sec. Sanders tells @CeciliaVega “the president wasn’t part of this decision-making process” on FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepping down. https://t.co/mUoZ9qTRtQ pic.twitter.com/j0byWpMokD
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) January 29, 2018
Sanders told reporters that President Trump had not spoken with anyone at the Bureau about the change and that he “wasn’t part of this decision-making process.”
The Press Secretary expressed the president’s full confidence in FBI Director Christopher Wray and referred reporters to the FBI, whom she said would issue a statement later on Monday.
McCabe’s step-down came as the House Intelligence Committee debates whether to publicly release a memo spearheaded by committee chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) that alleges the FBI abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to obtain a surveillance warrant on former Trump adviser Carter Page.
The Intelligence Committee will have a business meeting at 5pm on Monday, CNN reports. The committee has not confirmed whether a vote on the memo’s release will take place during that meeting.
McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are both named in the Nunes memo for their roles in the Trump investigation, a source told CNN.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, issued a statement regarding McCabe’s departure, calling the news “a step forward.”
“The news that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is stepping down is a step forward. The past several weeks and months have seen worrisome evidence of bias and wrongdoing at the FBI come to light, including Peter Strzok’s ‘insurance policy’ that was discussed in ‘Andy’s office.’
“This behavior is not befitting of America’s premier law enforcement agency, which, like Justice itself, must be impartial. To restore its vaunted reputation, and to restore the American people’s trust, the FBI must do what it can to move forward with a clean slate.
“McCabe’s resignation was the right choice, and a step in the right direction. I will continue fighting on behalf of the American people to expose and eradicate corruption within the FBI and Department of Justice–equal and fair treatment under the law is the cornerstone of America’s values, and must be upheld at all times.”
The Deputy Director has served at the Bureau since 1996, working under former directors Robert Mueller and James Comey.
McCabe has made known for years that he would step down from the Bureau upon becoming eligible for retirement in 2018, NBC noted. The news on Monday meant the FBI official will be leaving earlier than anticipated.
McCabe has been the subject of scrutiny in recent weeks as the FBI has faced allegations of bias in its investigations of the Trump campaign during the 2016 presidential election.
President Trump himself has criticized McCabe, who served for a brief time as acting head of the FBI following Comey’s firing.
The president accused McCabe of having a conflict of interest in the FBI’s probe into the Hillary Clinton private email server scandal.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Deputy Director’s wife, Jill McCabe, launched a Senate bid as a Democrat in Virginia in 2015 and received donations from a political action committee affiliated with former Governor Terry McAuliffe, who has ties to the Clintons.
The president was asked on Monday whether he knew McCabe was stepping down but did not give an answer, NBC reported.