Andrew McCabe, the new Acting Director of the FBI, met with President Trump for half an hour today, in the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) May 9, 2017
Halperin is a senior political correspondent for MSNBC. His tweets do not make clear what the President discussed with McCabe or how long he will hold the job at the top of the FBI.
Trump could choose a new Acting Director or rush to replace Comey with his own candidate, who would then need to be approved by the Republican-controlled Senate.
McCabe is a longtime FBI employee and like Comey was trained as a lawyer. He is a graduate of Duke and got his law degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
It was only about four months ago McCabe was promoted to be number two job in the FBI by Comey, which is the highest civil service post in the agency.
“Trim and tall with thinning gray hair, McCabe takes style cues from his boss. In a recent interview, he wore a blue shirt and no suit coat,” reported the Los Angeles Times on May 5, adding: “‘He was the kind of guy who wants to make sure everything is done by the book’,” said Raymond Kerr, a former supervisor. “‘He was also very good with people.’”
Last year, McCabe was put in charge of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, which became an issue during the presidential campaign. The FBI eventually said she should not be prosecuted.
It is unclear what role McCabe had in the infamous letter Comey issued just before the election about reopening the investigation – only to close it again days later.
McCabe joined the FBI in 1996 and has spent much of his career addressing the threat of terrorism to the United States.
In 2009, McCabe was tapped by President Obama to launch a new program called the High-Value Interrogation Group. The main purpose was to find an alternative to waterboarding and other cruel forms of interrogation that were used under President Bush in Iraq, at Guantanamo Bay and elsewhere.
Under McCabe, the FBI created an elite group of agents and intelligence officers who were sent as a team when needed to question “high value” suspects
McCabe also led the FBI in recent years as it looked into cyber security and new ways to communicate using encryption of emails and phone calls. He has voiced his concern about the trade-off between the need for security and the right of a citizen to privacy.
McCabe is very much in the Comey and FBI tradition of being careful and straightforward in what he does and says. He is unlikely to make many waves but he is also unlikely to be willing to be Trump’s lackey, which is why his tenure may be short.
While he holds the office, McCabe will have to walk a fine line between those who want an even more aggressive Russia probe and those like Trump who want the whole thing to go away.
There is virtually no chance McCabe will be the permanent replacement because Trump will want someone like Sessions and others around him who value loyalty to the President above all else. That isn’t likely to be McCable.
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