We don’t know the facts that caused Andrew McCabe’s firing.

Andrew McCabe, a senior official of the FBI, left the Bureau in January and announced his retirement effective yesterday, his 50th birthday. He was fired on Friday evening–26 hours before his proposed retirement– by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. One effect of the firing is its negative impact on McCabe’s pension.

McCabe was being investigated by the Department’s Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz on McCabe’s handling of the FBI’s discovery (through NYPD) of Hillary Clinton’s emails on Anthony Weiner’s computer, including McCabe’s disclosures to the press relating to that discovery. Weiner’s computer was shared by Clinton aide and Weiner spouse Huma Abedin.  The IG report’s conclusions on McCabe-Clinton-Weiner-Abedin are unknown.

The part of the unknown IG report relating to Weiner’s computer was shared with the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), a unit of the FBI charged with investigating allegations of impropriety by FBI employees. According to Sessions, OPR determined that McCabe should be fired because of his lack of candor. The report of OPR (if there is one) and the facts demonstrating McCabe’s lack of candor are unknown. (The career head of OPR was appointed by then-FBI Director Mueller.)

I’ll try to unpack the current state of affairs regarding McCabe.

  1. McCabe’s firing has nothing to do with the Special Counsel’s investigation of  Russia’s election meddling in support of Trump. Hillary Clinton’s emails are not involved in Russia-Trump.
  2. There is no way of knowing whether McCabe acted improperly. Sessions says he did. He says he didn’t. Neither the IG nor OPR factual determinations and conclusions have been released. All we have is the say-so of Jeff Sessions. (He has said that the Department’s “senior career official”–presumably Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein–agrees with the firing. Rosenstein is good at firings. He recommended Comey’s firing.)
  3. The McCabe dismissal was rushed. In fact the portion of the unknown IG report dealing with the Clinton emails was sent to OPR just days ago. McCabe could have retired and been charged with impropriety afterwards. The firing and its effect on McCabe’s pension appears punitive.
  4. Trump’s Tweet-slamming the Department of Justice because of McCabe is not in the public interest. False allegations of a politicized Department of Justice beget politicization there.
  5. When the facts adduced by the IG and OPR are revealed (if they are) then the merits regarding McCabe’s conduct can be determined.
  6. McCabe is a witness, in both the colloquial and legal sense, to everything Trump did or did not do with respect to the Comey dismissal, now a part of the Mueller investigation. Why would Trump attack McCabe’s credibility if he has nothing to hide?