FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepping down, reports say

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe stepping down, reports say

The White House says it has nothing to do with FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's departure from the law enforcement agency.

CNN reports McCabe will retire in March so he can retain full benefits.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Monday (Tuesday, NZ time) the White House was not involved in McCabe's decision to leave weeks before his planned retirement.

Trump and his Republican allies had made it clear that they wanted McCabe out of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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.

Republicans have criticized McCabe in connection with the FBI's investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server while she served as US secretary of state.

Earlier this month, The Washington Post reported that days after firing FBI Director James Comey, Trump met with McCabe at the White House and asked the acting director who he had voted for in the 2016 presidential race.

The removal may also have come by order of the Inspector General who is now investigating the Department of Justice and FBI over the handling of Hillary Clinton's email server investigation.

McCabe alerted the FBI of his wife's plans and followed protocol for conflicts of interest in investigations.

USA media reported the resignation early on Monday afternoon, citing staff sources at the bureau.

Back in 2015, McCabe's wife, Jill, ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the Virginia state senate.

The president reportedly asked McCabe who he voted for in the presidential election, and pressured him about the investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails.

Special prosecutor and former FBI director Robert Mueller is now in charge of leading the investigation.

Here's Trump's thinking on McCabe: Wife is a Democrat - McAuliffe donated to her - McAuliffe is close to the Clintons - McCabe is in the pocket of the Clintons.

But Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group that has sued the government for records related to McCabe, said in a Twitter message, "Something must have happened to trigger his abrupt departure".

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