FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has decided to retire by March as he has come under fire from Republicans in Congress due to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russia.

McCabe took over the FBI after Trump fired James Comey in May, but he has surfaced in the news recently after he supposedly appeared in anti-Trump texts between two FBI employees. He spent seven hours in front of the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week, frustrating Republicans with his non-answers.

McCabe’s full pension becomes available in early March so he has to make it at least until then. From The Washington Post:

When Trump fired Comey in May, McCabe stayed to run the agency until a new director was in place and to take the political heat for decisions made by his former boss.

“Andy’s in a difficult position now . . . because of the hyperpartisan political environment,’’ said John Pistole, who held the FBI’s No. 2 job for six years under former director Robert S. Mueller III. Mueller now serves as special counsel, running the investigation into whether any Trump associates conspired with Russian agents to interfere with the 2016 election.

Pistole said McCabe “is weathering the storm.”

“It’s disappointing,” he added, “to see how the criticism of the FBI is being used to try to undermine the credibility of the Mueller investigation. I think they’ve figured out they can’t undermine Bob’s integrity, so they’re just going to go after whoever they can dig up any dirt on.’’

The Dossier

McCabe testified before the committee about the dossier produced against Trump and the FBI’s investigation into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server. He could not provide them much information and actually contradicted testimonies given by previous witnesses. Now the committee will issue new subpoenas next week.

McCabe told the panel that the FBI worked hard “to verify the contents of the anti-Trump ‘dossier’ and stood by its credibility.” However, he could not tell the lawmakers if “the bureaur has been able to verify the substantive allegations in the dossier, or even identify a substantive allegation that has been corroborated.”

The lawmakers asked him which part of the dossier was true and McCabe only pointed to the part “that the unpaid, low-level Trump foreign policy advisor Carter Page visited Moscow in July 2016.”

Fox News reported:

The sources said that when asked when he learned that the dossier had been funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, McCabe claimed he could not recall – despite the reported existence of documents with McCabe’s own signature on them establishing his knowledge of the dossier’s financing and provenance.

The Anti-Trump Texts

I blogged last week that Republicans may end up at a dead end if they focus on the infamous “insurance policy” text message between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Mueller removed Strzok from his investigation last summer when he discovered the texts. Fox News reported at the time:

“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office – that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok texted on Aug. 15, 2016. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”

Some lawmakers surmise “Andy” is a reference to Andrew McCabe, and now want to know about his communications with Page and Strzok.

“This [text] is the one that concerns me the most,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, one day after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defended the Mueller probe in testimony before Goodlatte’s committee.

“Andy is presumably Andrew McCabe … and this text is very troubling because it suggests that they’re doing something, they have a plan to take action to make sure that Donald Trump does not get elected president of the United States at the highest levels of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”

Journalist Del Quentin Wilbur unleashed a tweet storm that reminded people Strzok and Page didn’t like a lot of people, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), former Attorney General Eric Holder, and Chelsea Clinton.

A readout on these texts showed Wilbur that Strzok and Page had a concern about competence.

Trump’s Wrath

Of course Trump unloaded on the news on Twitter:

Trump does have a point. Republicans have long thought that Hillary received special treatment from the FBI during the investigation. Those who sit on the Intelligence Committee said McCabe’s testimony to them did not sway them to change their mind. The testimony took place behind closed doors so we do not know exactly what McCabe told them.