The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s deputy director Andrew McCabe, who was repeatedly accused of political bias by President Donald Trump, stepped down from his position on Monday, ahead of his planned retirement in March.
According to CBS News, the 49-year-old was pressured to quit by FBI Director Christopher Wray in advance of an inspector general report examining the agency.
An internal communication authored by Mr. Wray shows Mr. McCabe’s early departure was the result of a forthcoming FBI inspector general report that concluded the agency must perform at the highest standards.
His exit from the top law enforcement agency comes a week after it had been widely speculated that Mr. Trump wanted him out of the position, because of the bureau’s lack of impartiality, particularly with regards towards him.
It was claimed by Times that Mr. McCabe repeated criticism was also due to the political ambitions of his wife, a Democrat who had received the financial backing of a close Clinton ally during her unsuccessful run for state senate in Virginia in 2015.
In a White House press briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied that Mr. Trump had played any role in Mr. McCabe’s departure.
“The president wasn’t part of this decision-making process,” Ms. Huckabee Sanders said. She said Mr. Trump stood by his previous tweets about Mr. McCabe, but that Mr. Trump had “full confidence” in Mr. Wray and “put all the decisions at the FBI in his hands”.
McCabe who has spent more than two decades at the organisation held a number of FBI leadership roles and been heavily involved in investigations into major crimes including the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.