Ousted FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe is shutting down his online campaign to raise money for a legal-defense fund, after taking in more than a half-million dollars in donations, his spokeswoman announced Monday.
Melissa Schwartz, McCabe’s spokeswoman, said McCabe’s GoFundMe site will stop accepting contributions as of 7 p.m. Monday. She said the money, which “more than tripled” the original goal, would soon be transferred to a more formal legal defense trust. As of 11:30 a.m., the fund had raised more than $538,000.
In a statement, McCabe said he “never imagined that I would need to rely on this type of assistance,” but the support “has been simply overwhelming and has led to contributions that have left us stunned and extraordinarily grateful.”
“Hopefully our efforts, fueled by this incredible support, will encourage others to stand up for themselves, and the truth, as well,” he said. “It is not lost on me that each contribution reflects not just someone’s well wishes, but also their acknowledgment that something in this situation is not fair or just.”
McCabe, the former No. 2 official at the FBI who took over as acting director when President Trump fired James B. Comey, had been a lightning rod in the bureau’s controversial investigations of Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign, but his termination last month has made him a household name.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe just 26 hours before he could retire and begin collecting his full retirement benefits, bringing McCabe’s more than 20-year career in the bureau to an ignominious end.
Sessions said his decision was based on findings by the Justice Department inspector general, who found McCabe authorized a media disclosure and misled investigators about it, as well as a recommendation from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility that McCabe should be removed. But McCabe had by then been a frequent target of Trump’s criticism, and he alleged that his removal was politically motivated and meant to undermine the FBI and its investigation into whether Russia coordinated with Trump’s campaign.
McCabe’s team on Thursday launched a GoFundMe campaign, initially saying they hoped to raise $150,000 to help cover legal costs McCabe would incur as he navigated congressional inquiries and explored whether he would sue over his abrupt ouster. The fund exceeded its goal within hours, fueled by small contributions.
McCabe’s team has said that although he could lose substantial retirement benefits, the money raised will be used only to cover legal costs, and the rest will be donated to charity.