The FBI on Friday said it has officially replaced former deputy director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions just hours before his retirement after becoming a target of President Donald Trump’s ire.
Director Christopher Wray has tapped Associate Deputy Director David Bowdich to ascend to McCabe’s role, according to a bureau release. Bowdich previously served as assistant director in charge of the Los Angeles Field Office, where he oversaw investigations including the San Bernardino terror attack and the LAX active shooter investigation.
Paul Abbate — the executive assistant director for the bureau’s Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch — will take over Bowdich’s job. He most recently worked as assistant director in charge of the Washington Field Office.
McCabe’s ouster in March came a little more than a day before the 50-year-old deputy director’s planned retirement, jeopardizing part of his pension. Sessions claimed McCabe violated Justice Department policies and was not forthcoming with investigators probing FBI actions before the 2016 presidential election. Internal department reviews determined that “McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions,” the attorney general said in a statement.
The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility also recommended McCabe’s dismissal, citing findings from the Justice Department’s inspector general’s report, which have not yet been made public.
But McCabe asserted the motivations for his firing were purely political.
“Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of [former FBI Director] James Comey,” McCabe said in a statement contesting his firing. “The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.”
Trump has long accused McCabe of bias because his wife’s 2015 campaign for a seat in Virginia’s state legislature accepted donations from the super PAC of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, an ally of the Clintons. Trump celebrated McCabe’s firing on Twitter as “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI” and “a great day for Democracy.”