McCabe joined the FBI SWAT team at the 'New York Field Office' in 1996. In 2003, he was appointed as a supervisory special agent at the 'Eurasian Organized Crime Task Force' and eventually held management positions in three FBI offices - 'National Security Branch,' 'Counterterrorism Division,' and the 'Washington Field Office.'
In 2009, McCabe was named the first director of the 'High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group,' a research-based program that was launched to develop a set of new interrogation techniques. His investigations led to the arrest of Ahmed Abu Khattala, the prime suspect of the 2012 Benghazi attack (Libya). McCabe was also on the 2013 ‘Boston marathon bombing’ investigation team.
On January 29, 2016, McCabe was named the new FBI Deputy Director and his tenure began on February 1, 2016.
McCabe's wife was a Democratic candidate for the 2015 Virginia State Senate. The same year, the-then 'United States Secretary of State' Hillary Clinton was in the middle of a controversy (of using a private email server for official public communications). Since the FBI was investigating the matter, McCabe was believed to oversee the probe.
In 2017, the 'Inspector General' of the 'U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee' and the 'Department of Justice' (DOJ) investigated him for a potential conflict of interest due to the donations made to his wife's campaign.
According to FBI documents, released in January 2018, McCabe did not oversee the Clinton email server probe (while his wife was contesting for office) and was also excluded from the FBI investigations into public corruption cases in Virginia.
The FBI documents further revealed that McCabe had notified the FBI about his wife's plans and had consulted with the team on how to avoid the conflict of interest. The documents also showed that he did follow the FBI protocol and asserted that McCabe had no conflicts when he assumed the Clinton investigation, since his role as FBI 'Deputy Director' was in effect three months after his wife lost the state Senate seat.
On May 9, 2017, McCabe became the acting director of the FBI, after Trump dismissed James Comey from the post, following which Trump and McCabe were always at loggerheads. Starting from July 2017, Trump repeatedly pushed for his removal and also suggested to Jeff Sessions to fire McCabe. He indicated McCabe's conflicts during his wife's Senate campaign as the cause of the dismissal.
In January 2018, US Attorney General James Sessions repeatedly pressurized the-then FBI Director, Christopher A. Wray, to fire McCabe, which was turned down by Wray. He, in fact, threatened to resign if McCabe was dismissed.
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On January 29, 2018, McCabe announced to resign as the FBI 'Deputy Director,' effective immediately. He made the announcement right after a meeting with Christopher A. Wray over an 'Office of Inspector General' (OIG) report on a possible demotion.
On March 1, 2018, 'The New York Times' and 'The Washington Post' reported that the OIG report held McCabe "responsible for approving an improper media disclosure," related to an October 2016 'Wall Street Journal' article about the disputes between the 'Justice Department' and the FBI over investigation into the 'Clinton Foundation.' Citing the OIG report, the 'Office of Professional Responsibility' of the FBI recommended McCabe's dismissal.
On March 17, Democratic Congressman Mark Pocan of Wisconsin, who did not support the dismissal, offered McCabe a security post in his congressional office. Massachusetts Democratic Congressman Seth Moulton also reportedly considered McCabe for a position in his office.
McCabe was on paid leave until his scheduled retirement on March 18, 2018,(3)and he did not lose his entire retirement pension.
On April 13, 2018, the Congress received the OIG report, which was also acquired by the 'Associated Press' and published. McCabe vehemently disputed the report's conclusions. The report suggested that McCabe misled the federal investigation at least four times, three of them while being under oath. His lawyer, Michael R. Bromwich, defended his client saying both the investigation and the report had been politicized by Trump. Bromwich declared McCabe's intention to sue the Trump administration
In August 2019, McCabe filed a lawsuit against the 'US Justice Department' for his wrongful termination. He indicated that his dismissal, which took effect just 26 hours before his scheduled retirement, resulted from Trump's improper political intervention. He claimed to be entitled to his full law enforcement pension and all other benefits and privileges.
McCabe has been persuading the DOJ to drop its case of releasing information to 'The Wall Street Journal' relating to the 'Clinton Foundation' investigation. According to him, it lacks of evidence, so the case should be dismissed. The grand jury, after being idle on the case for months, was summoned to resume in early September 2019. The case was, however, dismissed without any public announcement of an accusation. The DOJ rejected McCabe's arguments, while the prosecutors recommended his indictment.
Two prosecutors in the case left the DOJ, as reported by 'The New York Times,' which was unusual in a case approaching an indictment. One of the attorneys expressed doubts about the merits of the DOJ case.
'The Times' also highlighted the political influence on the case, since McCabe has been Trump's target for long. In August 2019, McCabe filed a lawsuit against the DOJ for his wrongful termination and asserted that his dismissal was intended to remove officials who had been disloyal to Trump.
On September 30, 2019, Federal Judge Reggie B. Walton ordered federal prosecutors to either file charges against McCabe or drop the investigation. The investigation that began in July 2018 had since held the release of documents. The judge gave prosecutors a deadline of November 15, 2019, to take a decision; he would order the release of the documents after that.