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Andrew McCabe, target of Trump’s fire, steps down from FBI

The FBI's deputy director is stepping down from the agency earlier than his March retirement. Andrew McCabe, who once oversaw an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, has been a target of President Trump's anger and tweets in recent months. The White House insisted the president has nothing to do with the decision. Judy Woodruff reports.

Read the Full Transcript

  • Judy Woodruff:

    A shakeup at the FBI today, as its second in command, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, steps down.

    There are several news reports tonight that his boss, FBI Director Christopher Wray, urged McCabe to speed his retirement.

    McCabe has already come under fire President Trump, and his decision to leave now raises new questions.

    Mr. Trump did not respond when asked about McCabe today. And White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders insisted the president had nothing to do with McCabe's departure.

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

    The president wasn't part of this decision-making process. And we would refer you to the FBI.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    McCabe was expected to retire when he became eligible in March. Instead, he will take leave, effective immediately, but remain on the FBI payroll until then. McCabe has been a target of President Trump's anger and tweets in recent months, with Mr. Trump suggesting that he is politically motivated.

    McCabe once oversaw an investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server, although no charges were filed. Mr. Trump falsely claimed that that coincided with McCabe's wife's failed bid for a Virginia Senate seat in 2015, when she was backed by a pro-Clinton group.

    This past week, Mr. Trump denied reports he had asked McCabe last May how he voted in the 2016 election.

  • Question:

    Did you ask McCabe who he voted for?

  • President Donald Trump:

    I don't think so. No, I don't think I did.

    I don't know what's the big deal with that, because I would ask you who you voted for. Who did you vote for?


  • Judy Woodruff:

    All this on the heels of new questions about special counsel Robert Mueller, after last week's New York Times report that Mr. Trump wanted to fire him last June.

    On Sunday, Republicans were split on whether they should intervene to protect Mueller's job.

    Senator Lindsey Graham-

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham:

    I think Mr. Mueller is the perfect guy to get to the bottom of all of this. And he will. And I think my job, among others, is to give him the space to do it. And I intend to do that. I have got legislation protecting Mr. Mueller. And I will be glad to pass it tomorrow.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy disagreed.

  • Question:

    Would you support legislation to protect Mueller?

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy:

    I don't think there's a need for legislation right now to protect Mueller. So we're raising an issue that's not…

  • Judy Woodruff:

    As Mr. Trump gets closer to a potential interview with Mueller, the controversy continued over whether to publicly release a memo written by House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes. It reportedly claims the Department of Justice is rigged against Mr. Trump in the Russia investigation. All U.S. House members can view that memo, and more than 200 already have, according to the House Intelligence Committee.

    The White House addressed calls from Republicans to make the memo public.

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders:

    No one at the White House has actually seen the memo. So, it would be hard for us to make a decision. If and when it's time for the White House to weigh in, we will do that through the proper protocol.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In a letter to Chairman Nunes last week, the Department of Justice warned that it would be — quote — "extraordinarily reckless to release that information without proper review."

    The House Intelligence Committee was expected to meet today to discuss that memo and a competing one written by Democrats.

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