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Former top FBI official Andrew McCabe, who sparred with Trump, is joining CNN as a contributor

CNBC logo CNBC 8/23/2019 Tucker Higgins

    a man wearing a suit and tie: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 7, 2017. © Provided by CNBC LLC Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., June 7, 2017.

    Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who became one of President Donald Trump's top enemies within his own administration, is joining CNN as a contributor, a network spokesperson said. His first day is Friday.

    McCabe spent two decades in the FBI before he was fired in March of 2018 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions just more than 24 hours before his planned retirement.

    The CNN gig comes as McCabe is fighting that termination in court. Earlier this month, McCabe filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court alleging that his removal was part of a scheme by the president to remove government employees "because they were not politically loyal to him."

    McCabe's hiring was reported earlier by CNN's senior media reporter Oliver Darcy.

    The Justice Department said he was fired because he broke FBI rules by improperly disclosing information to the press related to an investigation into Hillary Clinton. A Justice Department inspector general report later found McCabe had "lacked candor, including under oath" in describing those disclosures to investigators.

    Neither the Justice Department nor the White House immediately responded to a request for comment. A formal response to McCabe's lawsuit is not due in court until October.

    Earlier in the year, CNN drew scrutiny by hiring another former Justice Department official, Sarah Isgur Flores.

    Flores, a conservative who had served as spokeswoman for the Justice Department and for Sessions, was originally hired as a "political editor." The backlash from liberals and some Democratic presidential campaigns forced CNN to drop editing from her job description in March. Flores instead became a political analyst.

    McCabe's tenure under Trump was marked by frequent tangles with the president, particularly after McCabe rose to acting FBI director in May 2017 following the firing of James Comey, Trump's first FBI chief. Trump ultimately nominated FBI Director Christopher Wray for the top post.

    In one meeting in May 2017, Trump asked McCabe which candidate he voted for during the 2016 presidential election, according to McCabe's lawsuit.

    "Because Trump perceived [McCabe] to be affiliated with Clinton and the Democratic Party, and because [McCabe] did not vote for Trump and rebuffed Trump's requests to express partisan support for Trump, Trump decided to have [McCabe] removed from government," attorneys for McCabe allege in court papers.

    Trump frequently trashed McCabe on Twitter, particularly targeting what he considered to be McCabe's close relationship with Comey.

    "DOJ just issued the McCabe report — which is a total disaster," Trump wrote in one typical post in April 2018, referring to the inspector general report. "He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey — McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!"

    On Thursday, Fox News announced that it had hired Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the former White House press secretary, as a contributor. She will provide political commentary and analysis, the network said.

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