WASHINGTON — The Latest on the departure of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (all times local):
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has abruptly stepped down from his position.
McCabe had been publicly and repeatedly lambasted over the past year by President Donald Trump, who accused him of bias because of his wife’s political connections and an FBI investigation that produced no criminal charges against Hillary Clinton.
The departure comes as FBI Director Christopher Wray makes changes to his senior leadership team, replacing two other top aides last week. Such changes are not unusual when a new director takes charge, but they are notable amid Trump’s public pressure on Wray to get rid of officials who were confidants of James Comey, whom he fired as FBI director last May.
Wray is denying that the move stemmed from political pressure.
The White House says it has nothing to do with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s departure from the law enforcement agency.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the White House was not involved in McCabe’s decision to leave weeks before his planned retirement.
She says, “The president wasn’t part of this decision-making process.”
But Sanders says President Donald Trump stands by his criticism of McCabe, who played a central role in the Hillary Clinton email probe and the ongoing investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
McCabe’s wife had received campaign donations from then-Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe in a 2015 state Senate bid, drawing multiple Twitter attacks from the Republican president.
Sanders says the White House has “some concerns” over McCabe’s work at the bureau.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is leaving his position ahead of a previously planned retirement this spring.
McCabe has been a frequent target of criticism from President Donald Trump.
Two people familiar with the decision described it to The Associated Press on Monday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the record.
The move is effective Monday. McCabe had already been planning to retire upon his eligibility in a matter of weeks.
It is not clear if his early departure is for personal reasons or a reflection of the criticism.