Why Trump’s FBI ‘punching bag’ Andrew McCabe finally resigned

Feud over wife’s politics made bureau’s deputy director a target for president

Andrew McCabe
Andrew McCabe stepped down ahead of an agency review
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Andrew McCabe has quit as FBI deputy director, ending a tumultuous final year in office that saw him clash repeatedly with President Donald Trump.

McCabe became a “punching bag” for the commander-in-chief’s frustrations over the FBI investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the US election, CNN reports.

The pair already had a tense relationship after it emerged in 2016 that McCabe’s wife accepted a donation from a group tied to Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe, a Hillary Clinton crony, while running for the state Senate the previous year. Trump is said to have referred to Jill McCabe as a “loser” in a phone call with the deputy director.

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At a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump allegedly asked McCabe point-blank which party he had voted for during the 2016 election, The Washington Post says. McCabe reportedly answered that he had not voted.

The president’s hostility to manifested itself in a number of ways. The day after former FBI director James Comey was dismissed, in May 2017, Trump reportedly harangued McCabe over the phone as to “why Comey was allowed to fly on an FBI plane after he had been fired”, NBC News reports.

But the final straw, CNN says, may have had nothing to do with Trump.

FBI director Chris Wray has hinted to staff in an all-employee email that a government watchdog probe into the 2016 Clinton email scandal may have played a role in McCabe’s departure. Wray had also reportedly informed McCabe that he was “bringing in his own team, which McCabe would not be a part of”, and that it was McCabe’s decision whether to stay at the FBI or leave, the news site reports.

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