President Trump slammed the FBI's deputy director for donations to his wife's Virginia state Senate campaign, roughly an hour after it was reported Andrew McCabe would retire in early 2018.
"How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?" Trump tweeted Saturday.
How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin’ James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife’s campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
The Washington Post reported that McCabe was waiting to retire when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits.
Trump took issue with this as well, tweeting minutes after his first tweet: "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!"
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
McCabe has faced an onslaught of criticism from Republicans for alleged bias in the FBI. In addition to revelations that two top FBI staffers exchanged pro-Clinton, anti-Trump text messages, McCabe remains under investigation by the Justice Department's inspector general for how he handled the FBI's probe of Hillary Clinton's private email server.
That review was announced in May and stems from his wife Jill McCabe's campaign for a Virginia state senate seat in 2015. Her campaign received donations from former Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe's super PAC, as well as the Democratic Party of Virginia. During that time, McCabe was running the FBI's Washington, D.C., field office, which was assisting the FBI's investigation into Clinton's email server.
FactCheck.org looked into Trump's tweets in July in which he charged McCabe’s wife received $700,000 in campaign donations from Clinton.
The nearly $675,000 was donated to McCabe's unsuccessful run in 2015. That money came from the Virginia Democratic Party and Common Good VA, the political action committee of McAuliffe, a longtime friend and supporter of both Hillary and Bill Clinton who is now the outgoing governor of Virginia.
The contributions didn’t come from Clinton or her campaign, and McCabe wasn’t “in charge” of the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s emails at the time of the donations, either.
According to FactCheck.org, not only is there a lack of evidence tying the donations to Clinton and thus to McCabe's campaign, but Jill McCabe had already lost the election by the time her husband assumed his role as deputy director in February 2016. It was in that role that he “assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails,” an FBI spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the story about the donations.
Regardless, the House Judiciary and Oversight committees both announced in late October they were opening new investigations into the FBI's handling of its probe into Clinton's email server, accusing the agency of letting the former secretary of state off easy.
Late Wednesday, committees' leadership asked McCabe and Attorney General Jeff Sessions that the former be available for an interview as early as Thursday. They also requested interviews with FBI chief of staff Jim Rybicki and Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer who traded anti-Trump text messages with a fellow member of the FBI, Peter Strzok, with whom she was working on Mueller's team.
Several Republicans have called for McCabe to be replaced or subpoenaed following the release of those text messages.
McCabe – who was ex-FBI Director James Comey's right-hand-man beginning in February 2016 until Trump abruptly fired Comey in May – was grilled Thursday on Capitol Hill about his role in the FBI's Clinton investigation. Republicans were reportedly unhappy with McCabe's answers.
There appears to be a major shift in FBI leadership occurring under new Director Christopher Wray.
James Baker informed colleagues Wednesday that he was being "reassigned," a typical move when a new director comes in, the Washington Post reported Thursday.
Baker, who became general counsel under Comey, has come under scrutiny by congressional Republicans investigating whether he leaked information from the infamous Trump dossier, which contains unverified claims about Trump's deep ties to Russia.
"Wow, 'FBI lawyer James Baker reassigned,' according to @FoxNews," Trump said in a third tweet Saturday afternoon.
Comey lashed out at the drama unfurling at his former agency late Friday night.
"Sadly, we are now at a point in our political life when anyone can be attacked for partisan gain," Comey tweeted. "James Baker, who is stepping down as FBI General Counsel, served our country incredibly well for 25 years & deserves better. He is what we should all want our public servants to be."