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US FBI No. 2 official McCabe steps down amid Trump criticism

US FBI No. 2 official McCabe steps down amid Trump criticism

McCabe has been expected to leave the bureau for weeks, but the abrupt Monday afternoon resignation stunned FBI officials and came just days after his boss, Director Christopher Wray, suggested demoting him over an upcoming inspector general report, two people with knowledge of the matter told the New York Times.

Asked about McCabe's departure, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters, "I can tell you the president wasn't part of this decision-making process".

McCabe, has been a frequent target of Republicans alleging systemic bias against President Donald Trump, is stepping down immediately, two months before he was supposed to retire.

Trump on Twitter asked in July, while McCabe was acting Federal Bureau of Investigation chief, why Attorney General Jeff Sessions had not replaced him, and said in December McCabe was "racing the clock to retire with full benefits" and that the FBI's reputation was in "tatters".

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is leaving his position ahead of a previously planned retirement this spring.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appears before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, June 7, 2017, in Washington.

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The president later said he dismissed Comey over "this Russia thing", and the firing has become central to questions about whether Trump has sought to obstruct justice by impeding the Russian probe.

His departure comes roughly a week after news emerged that Trump asked McCabe who he voted for during an introductory meeting in May - not long after Comey was abruptly fired. The FBI has said McCabe received the necessary ethics approval before his wife received the donations.

His role began in February 2016, following his appointment as deputy director and three months after his wife, Jill McCabe, lost her bid for a state Senate seat.

"Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives", Trump wrote. McCabe's exit follows WaPo's report by one week.

Instead, the former official said, Mr. McCabe chose to leave. But Trump and the administration was "not happy" with him, the same source said.

This story is breaking and will be updated.


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