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GoFundMe page for fired FBI No. 2 McCabe legal defense fund nears $500K

The campaign blew past its goal of $100,000 with over 10,000 donations.
Image: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 11, 2017, while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S.Jacquelyn Martin / AP file

Supporters of Andrew McCabe, the former FBI deputy director who was fired earlier this month just days shy of his planned retirement, have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for his legal defense and have raised nearly $500,000 in just its first day.

The campaign — titled the "Andrew McCabe Legal Defense Fund" — was created Thursday by a group called "Friends of Andrew McCabe," which had originally set a goal of raising $150,000, but quickly blew through that and set a new goal of $250,000.

As of Friday afternoon, the campaign had raised $453,312 from what is says are 10,692 donations in just one day. That amount is equivalent to more than $42 donated per person.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe, who took the reins of the agency during the turbulent days after the abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey, just two days before he was to retire and become eligible for full pension benefits.

Sessions said at the time that he'd accepted an internal recommendation from the FBI that McCabe, a 21-year agency veteran, be terminated.

McCabe's supporters have expressed concern that could face criminal prosecution if the Justice Department report from the inspector general refers his case.

"Andrew McCabe’s FBI career was long, distinguished, and unblemished," the GoFundMe page's creators wrote on the site. "He embraced the most daunting, difficult, and important challenges that the FBI and the country could assign to him over the past 21 years...His reward for that has been a termination that was completely unjustified, amidst repeated ad hominem attacks by the President of the United States."

Though McCabe — who has been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump — stepped down as deputy director in late January, he remained on the federal payroll, and had planned to retire on Sunday March 18. His firing places his federal pension in jeopardy.

The FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility proposed the termination, based on the findings of the Justice Department's inspector general. As part of the inquiry, McCabe was questioned about conversations FBI officials had with a reporter in October 2016 regarding the FBI's investigation of the Clinton Foundation. The inspector general's report concluded that McCabe was not completely candid in answering questions about those conversations, according to officials familiar with the report.

In statement released after the firing was announced, McCabe said: "This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this administration's ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the special counsel's work."