Andrew McCabe stepping down as Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director

Mark Ruffalo Alyssa Milano and Michael Moore are among the more than a dozen celebrities who are uniting to upstage Trump's first State of the Union Address

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who has come under relentless fire from Republicans and President Trump, has stepped down a month earlier than expected.

McCabe will remain on the Federal Bureau of Investigation payroll until he is eligible to retire with full benefits in mid-March, the sources said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that the White House was not involved in FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe's decision to leave the agency.

McCabe has become a lightning rod in the political battles surrounding special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian agents to interfere in the 2016 presidential race.

Several Republicans also want to know what McCabe knew about anti-Trump text messages between two bureau officials, including one that seemed to reference an "insurance policy" against Trump winning the 2016 election.

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Trump has also said McCabe is "racing the clock to retire with full benefits".

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment on McCabe's decision. McCabe responded that he had not voted, according to several current and former US officials.

But a source familiar with the matter said FBI Director Christopher Wray told McCabe he is bringing in his own team, which he would not be a part of, and that it was McCabe's decision whether to stay at the FBI or leave.

Late a year ago, Trump drew attention to news stories about McCabe's rumored agency exit. But Trump and the administration was "not happy" with him, the same source said. Trump has latched onto this to falsely claim that McCabe was investigating Clinton while his wife was accepting campaign donations linked to her.

Last month, Trump, apparently quoting a Fox News segment, tweeted that "FBI's Andrew McCabe, 'in addition to his wife getting all of this money from M (Clinton Puppet), he was using, allegedly, his FBI Official Email Account to promote her campaign. Now Terry is Hillary". Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news.

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