Attorney General Jeff Sessions should not have fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Sen. Marco Rubio said Sunday morning, casting doubt on a decision that has been celebrated by President Donald Trump.
McCabe, long a target of criticism from President Donald Trump, was fired late Friday over a yet-to-be-released inspector general’s report expected to say the former deputy FBI director lacked candor in interactions with investigators examining his disclosures to the media. McCabe, who has claimed to be the target of a smear campaign because of his role in the bureau’s Russia investigation, had been scheduled to retire as of Sunday.
“I don't like the way it happened,” Rubio (R-Fla.) told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He should've been allowed to finish through the weekend.“
“That said, that there's an inspector general report that's due and work that's being done and after he had retired that report would've indicated wrongdoing or something that was actionable there's things that could've been done after the fact. But 48 hours to go before retirement I would've certainly done it differently. Given the fact there's still this report out there that hasn't come in.”
Because McCabe was fired, he is likely ineligible to receive his pension benefits.
The Florida lawmaker conceded that “obviously a lot of people are going to think” McCabe’s firing came at the urging of the president, who has accused the former deputy director of bias because his wife, a former candidate for Virginia’s state legislature, accepted donations for her campaign from the super PAC of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of Hillary Clinton.
In the hours after McCabe’s firing was announced, Trump celebrated the move online as “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI” and “a great day for Democracy.”
“Look, ultimately the president has his opinions on it. Obviously he doesn't like McCabe and he's made that pretty clear now for over a year,” Rubio said. “He was two days away from retirement. You might as well have let him retire, let the IG report come back. And if it finds that there was some level of wrongdoing there's things you can do in the future to sort of impact his benefits or whatever that's warranted.”
“I would've done it differently. I'm not the president. But I certainly would've done it differently if I was.”