FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reportedly felt pressured to leave by Director Christopher Wray

  • Andrew McCabe told friends that he felt pressure to leave the FBI, according to The New York Times.
  • McCabe abruptly stepped down on Monday.
  • He had planned to leave in March.
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
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Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who abruptly stepped down on Monday, told friends that he felt pressure to leave from the bureau's Director Christopher Wray, The New York Times reported.

Wray raised concerns about an impending inspector general report about the actions of FBI officials when the bureau was investigating both Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election, the report said. After Wray suggested putting McCabe into another job, which would have been a demotion, the FBI's No. 2 official chose to leave, according to the Times.

An FBI spokeswoman declined to comment.

McCabe already planned to leave in March, when he was eligible for full retirement benefits.

Trump has repeatedly and publicly blasted McCabe for what he calls political motivations behind the investigations into Clinton's email server and the Trump campaign's connections to Russia. The president and some congressional Republicans accused him of bias.

McCabe was a holdover from the tenure of former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired in May. He had served in the FBI's No. 2 role since January 2016.

McCabe briefly was acting FBI director until the Senate confirmed Wray.

The president had thrown jabs at McCabe in a manner unusual for a president and a top FBI official. Trump repeatedly accused McCabe of improper ties to Clinton because former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe — a Clinton ally — backed McCabe's wife's run for a state office in 2015. The Wall Street Journal reported in October 2016 that McAuliffe's political organization gave nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe's campaign for state Senate.

The FBI says McCabe followed the proper steps to avoid conflicts of interest. His wife's run for office also started months before he had any role in the Clinton probe.

Later Monday, an NBC News report shed more light on the tensions between the president and the Justice Department. A day after Trump fired Comey, he called McCabe to vent and ask why the ex-FBI director got to take a government-funded plane from Los Angeles to Washington.

During the call, Trump suggested that McCabe ask his wife how it feels to be a loser, in an apparent reference to her failed campaign for office, according to NBC.

The White House was not involved in McCabe's decision, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday afternoon.

"The president was not part of this decision-making process," she said.

Read the full New York Times story here.