Did Donald Trump plant the story of Andrew McCabe’s supposed FBI retirement?

For months, Donald Trump has been tweeting rant after dishonest rant about FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. For the past week, Trump’s corrupt Republican allies in Congress have been spreading the same exact lies about McCabe. It was clear Trump was ramping up to fire him. Then on Thursday, McCabe revealed that he’s a witness in the obstruction case against Trump, meaning Trump can’t fire him. Now there’s suddenly a story in the media about McCabe planning to retire, and Trump is protesting too much about it.

Suddenly, the day after Trump had been planning to fire Andrew McCabe before being thwarted, the Washington Post is running a story about how McCabe is planning to retire anyway (link). We’re not accusing the WaPo of any intentional journalistic malpractice, but several things stand out about this story as being odd.

For instance the story claims that McCabe is planning to retire in roughly ninety days so he can get a full pension. If McCabe were the source of this story, and this was his way of surrendering, he wouldn’t have made himself vulnerable by admitting that he’ll lose part of his pension if he’s fired right now. So the source for the story must be someone who doesn’t like McCabe. But none of those people would be privy to his plans. It’s enough to openly question if Trump’s allies at the FBI, knowing that McCabe is still three months away from his full pension, planted a false story about his impending retirement in order to make him vulnerable.

Donald Trump didn’t help things when he immediately tweeted “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!” Really? Trump oddly knows every detail of this story, when he’s not a details person at all. In addition, it usually takes days for news reported by legitimate news outlets to reach his ears, not minutes. Throw in the fact that McCabe is refusing to comment about this story at all, and it all suggests Trump and his people planted a fake story about McCabe’s supposed retirement just to torture him.

Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report