Staffing changes are once again coming to the FBI. In the early afternoon of Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe announced that he would be stepping down from his role, more than a month sooner than people expected. While McCabe is technically set to retire in March, it appears he is taking a leave until then, affectively ending his time as deputy director of the FBI.
McCabe and the FBI have repeatedly come under fire from President Donald Trump for their continued investigation into Trump’s potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. All of this is coming up as Devin Nunes, a Republican congressman from California, says that he has a document that proves that the FBI acted improperly during their investigations into Trump and Clinton, and McCabe is written all over it.
Is anyone else very worried about this? Prior to his move this morning, McCabe had mentioned that he was planning on stepping down when he reached his normal retirement option in March. While the president disparaged him for only sticking around to collect his benefits, this move would be considered normal–except now he has stepped down. While some conservatives are saying that it’s because he’s scared of what’s in Nunes’ memo, there is zero evidence to support this claim. Yes, McCabe has a wife who ran for the Democratic Party, but in the past when there was a conflict of interest, McCabe recused himself. Also, nobody has actually seen Nunes’ memo, so there is no evidence there either.
This is also not the first high-profile FBI member to be have vacated a seat in the last year. Former FBI Director James Comey was fired by Trump on May 9, 2017. Trump has also discussed firing special prosecutor Robert Mueller and McCabe prior to his stepping down. Additionally, for those keeping count, around 20 high profile administrators have either been fired or stepped down during Trump’s presidency–and Trump has only been president for just over a year. Only serious threats from high-profile presidential advisors and directors kept the president from doing those things.
While there is a chance that McCabe is retiring early because he is scared, it is very unlikely. Normally when people are scared, they make wild and crazy moves, like insisting that there are tapes of a recorded phone conversation even when those tapes definitely don’t exist. The only person acting irrationally in these situations is Trump. He has threatened to fire or fired all of those who go against his wishes in an effort to do their jobs. This all coming from a man who tried to get Comey to drop the Russia investigation, get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to not recuse himself and asked McCabe who he voted for upon first meeting him.
The FBI and its leaders are not some kind of scapegoat for the president. Just because he can’t get anything done, doesn’t mean that he can turn everything around and blame those who are actually trying to get things done. The FBI is not some partisan organization running a “deep state” within the United States. Its sole mission is to enforce the law within the United States, and Trump is making a mockery of that.
It is time that the president and all of those in the White House understand the gravity of what they are doing when they blame the FBI and force out its leaders. The FBI is one of the most important cornerstones of our democracy. Through their investigations, they protect the lives of Americans at home and abroad. They defend the Constitution and make sure that nobody is silencing people’s rights or breaking the law. If Trump really believes that he is innocent, then he needs to stop blaming the FBI and let it do its job.