FBI Director Christopher Wray suggested that the process behind deputy director Andrew McCabe's firing last week was "not based on political or partisan influence."
In an interview with NBC's "Nightly News" to be broadcast Wednesday, Wray said he would avoid addressing the topic of McCabe's firing — the timing of which has raised concerns of being politically motivated.
But Wray appeared to bat down those suspicions in the interview, telling NBC: "My commitment to making sure that our process is followed, that it relies on objective input, and that most importantly, it is not based on political or partisan influence is something I am utterly unyielding on."
McCabe was fired on Friday, less than two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to resign with a full pension. He had stepped down in January, while remaining on the federal payroll ahead of his full resignation.
His firing was recommended by the bureau's Office of Professional Responsibility, and was later accepted by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Previously, a review by the Justice Department's inspector general had concluded that the ex-deputy had shown a lack of candor regarding his decision to allow FBI officials to talk to the press during an investigation into the Clinton Foundation in 2016.
Neither report has been released to the public.
President Donald Trump has criticized McCabe numerous times on Twitter, accusing him of political bias. Trump evidenced his claims in part by noting that McCabe's wife, in a campaign for Virginia's state senate, received more than $600,000 from entities associated with Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Trump tweet How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin' James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?
Trump tweet FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
Wray told NBC that his commitment to "doing things objectively and independently and by the book" extends to "personnel decisions and disciplinary decisions."
But McCabe, in an incendiary statement released Friday evening, said his experience provided an example "of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people."