Cruel and unusual? Perhaps. But The NY Times reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing a recommendation to fire the former F.B.I. deputy director, Andrew G. McCabe, just days before he is scheduled to retire on Sunday.
As a reminder, McCabe stepped down in late January, though reports suggested McCabe was reportedly forced to step down. According to Fox News, McCabe was “removed” from his post as deputy director, “leaving the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans including President Trump.”
In both cases, his early departure suggests that he was forced out for a few reasons…
Several media outlets reported that McCabe is using his remaining vacation days to go on “terminal leave” and that his official retirement from the agency won’t happen until March, allowing him to collect the full pension.
But that ‘spotless record’ may now be given the official ‘black mark’:
As NYTimes details that Mr. McCabe is ensnared in an internal review that includes an examination of his decision in 2016 to allow F.B.I. officials to speak with reporters about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
The Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming during the review, according to the people briefed on the matter.
That yet-to-be-released report triggered an F.B.I. disciplinary process that recommended his termination – leaving Mr. Sessions to either accept or reverse that decision.
Lack of candor is a fireable offense, but like so much at the F.B.I., Mr. McCabe’s fate is also entangled in presidential politics and the special counsel investigation.
How long before we see a tweet from President Trump demanding Sessions pull the trigger on McCabe?
Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 26, 2017
Though no decision has been made, people inside the Justice Department expect him to be fired before Friday, a decision that would jeopardize his pension as a 21-year F.B.I. veteran…
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
Finally, as NYTimes notes, firing Mr. McCabe, even on the recommendation of the disciplinary office, would be controversial. Among Mr. McCabe’s allies, the decision would raise the specter that Mr. Sessions was influenced by Mr. Trump’s frequent derisive comments. No deputy director in the history of the F.B.I. has been fired.
But Mr. Sessions would be able to point to a critical inspector general’s report and say he followed Justice Department protocol.
Is Trump about to get the last laugh after all?