US Attorney General Sessions fires former FBI no. 2 McCabe

In this file photo taken on July 12, 2017, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (L) and Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe (R) listen during a news conference to announce significant law enforcement actions at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. (AFP / ALEX WONG)
Updated 17 March 2018
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US Attorney General Sessions fires former FBI no. 2 McCabe

WASHINGTON: US Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday fired Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s former No. 2 official who was deeply involved in the agency’s investigations of Hillary Clinton and Russia’s role in the 2016 US election and was repeatedly criticized by President Donald Trump.
McCabe said in a lengthy statement that he believes he is being politically targeted because he corroborated former FBI Director James Comey’s claims that Trump tried to pressure him into killing the Russia probe.
Trump ousted Comey last year and later acknowledged in a televised interview that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”
“Based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions said in a statement.
McCabe’s dismissal came two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his full pension. The firing — which comes nine months after Trump fired Comey — puts McCabe’s pension in jeopardy.
It also is likely to raise questions about whether McCabe received an overly harsh punishment due to political pressure by the Republican president, who has blasted McCabe on Twitter and called for his ouster.
Comey’s firing paved the way for Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to tap Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is now leading the investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia. Trump has denied there was any collusion.
“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 James Comey,” McCabe said in his statement.
“This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort ... to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.”
McCabe had stepped down from his position as FBI deputy director in January but remained on leave pending retirement.
His departure was triggered by a critical report from the Justice Department’s inspector general that eventually led to a recommendation that he be fired.
The report said McCabe misled investigators about his communications with a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was writing about McCabe’s role in probes tied to Clinton, including an investigation of the Clinton family’s charitable foundation.
In his statement, McCabe denied ever misleading investigators.
He added that the release of the inspector general’s report was “accelerated” after he testified behind closed doors before the US House Intelligence Committee where he revealed he could back up Comey’s claims. Comey’s firing has become central to questions about whether Trump unlawfully sought to obstruct the Russia investigation.
McCabe could potentially be a crucial witness in Mueller’s investigation.


India’s Parliament rejects no confidence motion against Modi

Updated 21 July 2018
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India’s Parliament rejects no confidence motion against Modi

  • After a marathon 12 hours of debate more than 60 percent of the lower house voted in the BJP’s favor
  • The opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi crossed the chamber during debate to give an awkward embrace to a seated and clearly surprised Modi

NEW DELHI: India’s ruling party sailed through a confidence vote in a theatrical parliamentary session which saw a startled Prime Minister Narendra Modi embraced by his chief political foe.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was in no danger of losing its first confidence motion since taking power four years ago, which was prompted by a minor party walking out of the governing coalition.
After a marathon 12 hours of debate, more than 60 percent of the lower house voted in the BJP’s favor, but the vote was overshadowed by the theatrics of bitter Modi rival Rahul Gandhi.
The opposition Congress party leader crossed the chamber during debate to give an awkward embrace to a seated and clearly surprised Modi.
“You can abuse me and call me names but I don’t have any hatred toward you,” Gandhi said to cheers from Congress lawmakers just before he hugged his rival.
After gathering his wits, Modi called Gandhi again to shake hands and pat his back, and the opposition leader winked mischieviously at Congress colleagues after returning to his seat.
Congress later voted against Modi’s government despite the brief bonhomie on the parliament floor.
The hug has since gone viral on social media and endlessly dissected non-stop on India’s cable TV channels and went viral on social media, with some praising Gandhi’s apparent gesture of goodwill.
“Earlier opposition parties... always managed to transcend rivalry at certain crucial moments,” said independent analyst Shiv Vishwanathan in comments to the Hindustan.
“Today, Rahul Gandhi captured that history.”
But Modi was less convinced of Gandhi’s sincerity, later telling parliament he was confused by Gandhi’s “childish” behavior.
Modi and Gandhi’s running war of words has escalated since polls showed a decline in the BJP’s popularity, fanning hopes of an opposition comeback in next year’s elections after a Congress rout in 2014.