Fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe stopped accepting donations to pay for his legal bills Monday evening, after raising more than a half a million dollars.
A GoFundMe account was created for McCabe last week in an effort to gather donations for his legal defense fund after being fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month, just days before his planned retirement.
“As of 7pm on April 2, the Andrew McCabe Legal Fund will cease accepting donations on GoFundMe. The funds generated will in the very near future be transferred to a more formal legal defense trust,” the page read.
“The outpouring of support on GoFundMe has been simply overwhelming and has led to contributions that have left us stunned and extraordinarily grateful,” McCabe said in a statement Monday, noting that the campaign began “organically” with “generous” people “spontaneously” giving to other accounts on his behalf. “I never imagined that I would have to rely on this type of assistance.”
McCabe said he would “continue taking a stand” against the “unfair way” he had been treated by the Trump administration, noting that he would need the help of a “talented and courageous team behind me.”
“Hopefully our efforts, fueled by your incredible support, will encourage others to stand up for themselves, and the truth, as well. It is not lost on me that each contribution reflects not just someone’s well wishes, but also their acknowledgement that something in this situation is not fair or just,” McCabe said, thanking every donor for their support.
The GoFundMe page initially requested a goal of $250,000, but exceeded that benchmark, reaching $554,520. The funds were raised by 13,272 people in four days.
McCabe’s legal team, according to the statement, is headed by former Justice Department Inspector General Michael Bromwich of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck, Untereiner, & Sauber LLP.
“Mr. McCabe and his team are working to gain clarity around the lasting impact his firing—26 hours before his planned retirement—will have on the pension and healthcare benefits he earned over his two decades of service to the FBI,” the statement read, assuring that none of the funds raised in the campaign would be used for “anything beyond his defense of the allegations against him.”
McCabe was fired by Sessions on March 16, just days before he would have been eligible for a lifetime pension, after it was determined that he lied to investigators reviewing the bureau’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Pursuant to Department order 1202, and 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.
Sessions added that McCabe had “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor—including under oath—on multiple occasions.”
McCabe said upon his firing that it was part of the Trump administration’s “ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation.”
Sessions’ decision to fire McCabe came as Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded a bureau oversight investigation, with a report expected, in coming weeks, to be critical of McCabe’s handling of the Clinton email probe, his handling of the bureau during the early months of the Russia investigation, and his ties to the Democratic Party.
Jonathan Turley, professor of law at George Washington University, penned an op-ed for The Hill on Monday, raising issues about the timing of the creation of McCabe’s account.
“It is not the creation of the GoFundMe page for McCabe that is concerning but its timing. Leading charity watchdogs demand full transparency and information so that ‘consumers or donors’ are not ‘snookered,’” Turley wrote. “If the public learns that McCabe’s wound was self-inflicted, or even criminal in character, do they get their money back? Not likely.”
Turley added: “McCabe might still prove to be a legitimate cause or he might not be. That is why a GoFundMe effort should follow, not precede, the report on his conduct.”
Horowitz determined that McCabe hadn’t been forthcoming in regard to the handling of the FBI’s probe into the Clinton email server while she was secretary of state during the Obama administration.
Horowitz’s findings sparked an FBI disciplinary process that recommended McCabe’s firing.
Prior to his firing, FBI Director Christopher Wray “removed” him from his post in January, setting in motion a plan to leave the bureau after months of conflict-of-interest complaints from Republicans—including the president.
The White House said that the decision to fire McCabe was entirely up to Sessions, but that McCabe was a “bad actor.”
McCabe also was criticized upon the release of a House Intelligence Committee memo that revealed potential Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) abuses in connection with the Russia probe. The memo said that McCabe signed at least one FISA warrant targeting Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.
“McCabe testified before the committee in December 2017 that no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the [FISA court] without the Steel dossier information,” the memo read. The Steele dossier was unverified, and financed as opposition research by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
McCabe was acting director of the FBI from May 9, 2017, when former FBI Director James Comey was fired, until Aug. 2, 2017—during the early months of the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates.