China To Ban Citizens With Bad ‘Social Credit’ Rating From Traveling

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

China has banned more than nine million people so far from buying plane tickets and at least another three million from buying business-class train tickets because of their poor “social credit” ratings, according to the deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. The ratings have also been used to deny loans and other forms of government support to more than 6,000 businesses blacklisted by the government. Two statements issued by the Chinese government on Friday confirmed that rule breakers can expect to face travel bans of up to a year. But I would bet that in some cases if not most, the bans are longer or permanent.

Under China’s new social scoring system, trustworthy entrepreneurs and individuals will be rewarded, while those who commit social misdeeds such as fraud, spreading false information about terrorism and causing trouble on flights will be discredited. You can even wind up on the blacklist for parking a bike in the wrong place or giving an insincere apology. President Xi Jinping’s plan is based on the principle ‘once untrustworthy, always restricted’, which will become effective on May 1st. Xi was just declared ruler for life… the first since Mao ruled the country. The system is expected to be fully implemented by 2020 and Xi will see it is enforced brutally and efficiently.

China’s Social Credit System is coordinated by the Central Leading Group for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms. It mashes together information gleaned from a wide variety of sources in order to give every citizen a social-credit rating. This includes data from the country’s social insurance database and the criminal records system, as well as information gleaned online. It is intended to penalize not just citizens who have failed to pay fines or taxes, for example, but also people the government deems guilty of ‘spreading false information’ and for ‘causing trouble’.

The social credit system will, according to government officials, “allow the trustworthy to roam everywhere under heaven while making it hard for the discredited to take a single step.” Everything from how well you treat your parents to what you’re buying will affect your eligibility to receive various rewards and benefits. It’s a situation played out by way of Charlie Brooker’s dark satire in an episode of Black Mirror, Nosedive. In it, the central character, Lacie, lives in a world where her social rating dictates every aspect of her life, including travel and work.

This comes as China’s government has led a concerted push to remove Internet anonymity from mobile phone and social networks so that anyone online can be identified at all times by the authorities. This is in addition to the country’s firewall, which restricts access to websites outside of China that its government doesn’t want Chinese citizens to see and use. Blocked websites include search engines, foreign media and social media websites outside of the Chinese government’s control.

China started building this system three years ago. On Friday (March 16), it was announced that travelers who use expired tickets or smoked on trains would also be put on a blacklist, according to statements issued on the National Development and Reform Commission’s website. This is the beginning of Xi’s morality crackdown in the nation. Along with this, people are being forced to display a picture of their Dear Leader somewhere in their homes.

Those found to have committed financial wrongdoings, such as employers who failed to pay social insurance or people who refuse to pay fines, would also face restrictions, said the statements which were dated March 2nd. The commission added that the new rules would come into effect on May 1st. According to a Xinhua News Agency report, the government will look to improve the mechanism to ensure that social credit records are updated in a timely fashion and disputes can be well handled. I don’t think anyone is foolish enough to believe that horse puckey.

If you fall out of favor with the government in China, you will be walking to work or starving to death. Communists do not care. They are looking to reduce the population in the cities anyway.

The Chinese government’s Social Credit System has been duplicated in the private sector as well, with Sesame Credit, an affiliate of Alibaba’s Alipay subsidiary, controlled by billionaire Jack Ma, providing loans based on social credit ratings for a number of years already. It lends money based not just on an individual’s credit history, but also their buying habits and online social circles, and encourages users to flaunt their credit score publicly. That credit score is also shared with Baihe, one of China’s biggest online dating services, which promotes subscribers with good social credit scores with Sesame to prominent spots on its website. China’s government hopes that by adopting a combination of punishments and rewards it can keep its people in line and the Communist Party of China in power permanently.

A Wired report last year found that a user with a low Zhima Credit score had to pay more to rent a bicycle, hotel room or even an umbrella. Zhima Credit’s CEO has said, in an eerie prefiguring of the new travel restrictions, that the system “will ensure that the bad people in society don’t have a place to go, while good people can move freely and without obstruction.” This is right out of 1984. A dystopian society employing digital fascism. If you are a good communist and obey the rules, you will be favored. If not… you are expendable. Welcome to Xi’s China and their version of the Gestapo. What’s old is new again in the digital age.


The Constitution of the United States as a Contract

By: Thomas Wigand | New Zeal

Cross-posted from Bear Witness Central

Author’s Note: This is an abridged version of “The Constitution of the United States of America as a Contract ” – one of the “communiqués” from my book Communiques from the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. This particular communiqué discusses our Constitution from what this writer believes to be a novel perspective – analyzed as a legal contract rather than as a political document – and from that, how there has been a Progressive-driven breach of contract. The original of this communiqué includes some of the “legalese” of contract interpretation principles used in law; here I have mostly excised those and distilled to the essence of the concept. In that sense, you will find this piece not unlike Mark Levin’s new book “Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism” (although my book was released a year before) – I say that not to brag, merely to acknowledge kinship with another who is working to warn Americans about the manifest anti-Americanism of the Progressive division of Collectivism.

The Constitution of the United States of America as a Contract

The Constitution is the guide which I never will abandon.

George Washington

Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these great and true principles.

Abraham Lincoln

To live under the American Constitution is the greatest political privilege that was ever accorded to the human race.

Calvin Coolidge

It is submitted to you that we could (and should?) look at the Constitution as equivalent to a legally binding contract between the people of the United States of America as one party to the contract, and the federal government as the other party.

Discussion regarding the Constitution of the United States of America typically revolves around a debate between “strict constructionists” (Conservatives and objective legal scholars) and “living document” proponents (Progressives and agenda-driven “legal scholars”). In the interest of illuminating the fundamental premise of the debate, let’s approach it from a slightly different angle – by applying legal concepts from “contract law.”

Continue reading


Trevor Loudon In Arizona!

By: Trevor Loudon | New Zeal

Trevor Loudon Speaks at Border Rally in San Diego March 2018

Trevor Loudon will be in Arizona for the rest of March, 2018:

  • March 23/24: Western Conservative Conference; Phoenix Arizona https://www.westernconservative.org/
  • March 31: Colorado River Tea Party, American Legion Post 19, 2575 S Virginia Dr., Yuma Between 2-5 pm

Please join us if you are in the area!


Another Mixed Day

By: Kent Engelke | Capitol Securities

Markets were mixed Friday heading into this week’s FOMC meeting. White House turmoil was looked past and attention was focused on better than expected factory output and consumer sentiment.

Commenting about sentiment, confidence is now at the highest level since January 2004 with the sharpest gains coming from the lower third of the economy. Inflationary expectations are at a 3-year high of 2.9% versus the expected rate of 2.5%.

Inflation is a two part phenomenon. The first part is too much money chasing too few goods fearing higher prices tomorrow.

If inflationary expectations become unanchored, Treasury yields will rise, for such are already 1.25% to 1.5% lower based upon the historical relationship between the 10-year Treasury and real GDP. In other words, there is great confidence in the inflation fighting prowess of the Federal Reserve.

As noted above and speaking of the Fed, the two day meeting commences tomorrow. A 0.25% increase is expected. Will the Committee suggest the possibility of three more increases in 2018 for a total of four? As little as six weeks ago, the markets had not yet discounted two.

For what it is worth department, Larry Kudlow who is now head of the National Council of Economic Advisors, privately told the White House the economy is on the edge of 4% to 5% growth as the economy is on the “front edge of the biggest investment bomb in perhaps 30-40 years.”

Some may immediately dismiss this outlook as politically motivated, however, it is consistent with the outlook of JP Morgan and several Federal Reserve presidents as well as former FRB Chair Greenspan. The reason for this anticipated growth by all groups… tax and banking reform including the immediate expensing of capital goods spending, as well as the acceleration of monetary velocity.

Changing topics, many times I have commented about market imbalances. Friday’s WSJ perhaps partially quantified these imbalances via the flow of funds. According to the WSJ, almost $5 billion has poured into tech focused funds this year. This figure represents half of what this group pulled in, in all of 2017. During January, the tech sector pulled in a record $3.7 billion, the greatest inflow for this sector (and any other sector) since March 2000.

The Journal reiterated that less than six companies are responsible for any 2018 S & P 500 gains. Without these gains this marquee index would be down almost into “corrective territory.” Wow!

Continuing with this theme, according to the Commerce Department, Internet sales account for about 10% total retail sales. These sales include purchases made from Walmart and any other companies that have an online presence.

One of the companies that has contributed to a large proportion of the S & P 500 advance is an online retailer. Amazon’s total sales are about 25% of that of Walmart, but Amazon is worth about three times more than Walmart. Walmart makes in a year what Amazon has made since it went public in 1997.

I ask is this sustainable? Perhaps the appropriate question is this rational given that companies are valued by corporate cashflow discounted by some interest rates? The growth rate is a minority factor in valuation formulas.

Speaking of growth, the Commerce Department states online sales grew by 9% in 2017. Overall, retail sales were up about 4.1%.

Some have stated indexing and technology based trading has created a more efficient and liquid market. I will argue it has created an imbalanced market that could be teetering like a pile of sand. What grain will cause the sand pile to topple?

Perhaps this week’s Fed meeting could be that grain of sand; the grain of sand that is really better than expected growth that generated demand pull and cost push inflation.

Last night the foreign markets were down. London was down 1.29%, Paris was down 0.74% and Frankfurt was down 0.91%. China was up 0.29%, Japan was down 0.90% and Hang Sang was up 0.04%.

The Dow should open moderately lower on a myriad of fears including monetary policy, trade and political tensions, potential large privacy violations from social media companies and technical trading patterns. The 10-year is off 6/32 to yield 2.87%.


Former Assistant FBI Director Says Top Feds Plotted to Protect Hillary Clinton

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom also said officials had a scheme to blame Trump for the Russian interference during the 2016 election.

Former FBI Assistant Director James Kallstrom appeared on Fox News Channel with Maria Bartiromo on ‘Sunday Morning Futures’ to discuss the firing of Andrew McCabe and other issues concerning the FBI. He dropped a bombshell… he said that “high-ranking people throughout the government… had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton indicted so that she could remain the flawed candidate that she was.” Kallstrom was in the FBI for 27 years, so what he says has weight and credibility.

Sessions acted just two days before McCabe’s official retirement would have enabled him to begin drawing a lucrative federal pension. The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) recommended that Sessions fire McCabe because he reportedly lied to investigators and leaked all over the place to the media. Kallstrom suggested that McCabe was emblematic of continuing corruption among top federal officials.

“I think there’s a big sigh of relief and a good feeling about the fact that an FBI element, and organization in the FBI, recommended that he be fired, as opposed to them being mute and having someone else make that recommendation,” Kallstrom said. “So I think they’re very happy about that. And they’re just gnawing at the bit to actually get involved in a real investigation, not a phony investigation like [former FBI Director] Jim Comey conducted,” Kallstrom added.

Kallstrom said that the “plot” to fix the 2016 election goes “right to the top,” which leveled a finger right at President Obama and former CIA director John Brennan. Brennan who basically threatened Trump with a tweet after McCabe was summarily fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Kallstrom cited text messages from FBI counterintelligence chief Peter Stzrok which appear to show “they had a backup plan to frame Donald Trump” as a Russian agent. “This whole thing is a total phony,” he said about the Muller probe. “How would you feel… if someone had a phony scheme about you go on for months and months and months?” I’d say that’s pretty direct and blunt and pretty much dead on.

During Comey’s tenure, McCabe oversaw the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state. Host Maria Bartiromo noted that 10 people “at the top of the FBI and the Department of Justice” have been “either fired or reassigned” over the last several months as details about the Clinton investigation and the investigation into Russia and Trump’s presidential campaign came to light.

“Obviously this is no coincidence,” Bartiromo said. “Do you think somebody was directing them, or do you think they just came to the conclusion on their own, this leadership at the FBI and the Department of Justice, that they wanted to change the outcome of the election, that they wanted to protect Hillary Clinton?” “I think we have ample facts revealed to us during this last year and a half that high-ranking people throughout government, not just the FBI, high-ranking people had a plot to not have Hillary Clinton, you know, indicted,” Kallstrom said.

He also said: “Jim Comey is not a stupid individual. I think he’s naive and has an ego the size of the Empire State Building, and he has a lot of other faults, that got him into this trouble. But I could be wrong, they could have been in lockstep. But there is no question that he, and McCabe others in the FBI, and we’ll find out the State Dept., and the National Security Advisors to the president, and John Brennan. Did you see John Brennan’s remarks?”

“The animus and the malice against Trump is prima facie exposure of how he felt about Trump before the election,” Kallstrom said. “My sources tell me [Brennan] was leaking almost weekly or daily, and he was taking that bunch of phony crap supposedly from Russia, and peddling that through the Congress and the media, he was one of the active people. I’ve known him a long time and I think he’s involved, and quite frankly, I think it goes right to the top, quite frankly.” Oh, and I hope and pray they nail Brennan in all this.

Bartiromo asked, “To President Obama?” “It goes right to the top, and it involves that whole strategy. They were going to win [the 2016 election], nobody would ever know this stuff, and they just unleashed the intelligence community. Look at the unmaskings? We haven’t even heard about that yet. Look at the way they violated the rights of these American citizens?” Kallstrom explained. “I hope Gen. Flynn sues a lot of people, because he was handled so bad… He didn’t lie to the FBI. They didn’t even interview him about a crime. He was in his legal authorized mode when all that happened,” he said.

“They are the people who committed felonies, not the General. They’ve ruined [Flynn] – and because they threatened his son, you know, they bankrupted this guy that gave his life to this country. Just the whole dealings. Look how they dealt with the IRS? There are so many things they have done badly.” I’m no fan of Flynn, but his constitutional rights were violated and he was railroaded. Yes, he’s been involved with the Russians… I think he’s a Russian plant. So get him on that, not some trumped up charge of lying that didn’t happen.

Kallstrom also said officials had a scheme to blame Trump for the Russian interference during the 2016 election. “They had a backup plan to basically frame Donald Trump and that’s what’s been going,” Kallstrom said.

Trump targeted McCabe, Comey and special counsel Robert Mueller in a series of tweets over the weekend. “As the House Intelligence Committee has concluded, there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump Campaign. As many are now finding out, however, there was tremendous leaking, lying and corruption at the highest levels of the FBI, Justice & State. #DrainTheSwamp,” Trump tweeted Saturday. “The Fake News is beside themselves that McCabe was caught, called out and fired. How many hundreds of thousands of dollars was given to wife’s campaign by Crooked H friend, [former Virginia Gov.] Terry [McAuliffe], who was also under investigation? How many lies? How many leaks? Comey knew it all, and much more!” Trump added.

Trump insisted that Mueller’s probe “should never have been started” because “there was no collusion and there was no crime.” “It was based on fraudulent activities and a Fake Dossier paid for by Crooked Hillary and the [Democratic National Committee], and improperly used in FISA COURT for surveillance of my campaign. WITCH HUNT!” Trump tweeted. Witch hunt indeed. The intelligence agencies need an enema and a reboot. Oh, and a lot of people need to go to jail over all of this, not just lose their pensions or be reassigned.


Ex-CIA Chief John Brennan Tweets Threat To President Trump After McCabe Is Fired

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

I have always considered John Brennan a Marxist and so is Samantha Power. Yesterday, Former CIA Director John Brennan tweeted what looks like a threat to President Trump after Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for leaking to the media and lying while testifying. McCabe was fired just two days before he planned to retire after more than 20 years of FBI service, yanking the full government pension he would have otherwise qualified for. The pension was said to be worth about $1.8 million. President Trump celebrating the termination set Brennan off.

Of course, the left adored the tweet. But in point of fact, what it does is confirm what Trump has been saying all along… that the senior leadership of the intelligence and federal law enforcement services have become highly politicized and even weaponized. Brennan is beclowning himself here. The guy is a liar, a progressive and corrupt as hell. Earlier this month, Brennan criticized the President as “small, petty, and banal with your tweets. Your insecurity is well deserved, as is your concern over Russia investigation,” he said. The former CIA director has also previously described the President as “unstable, inept, inexperienced and unethical.” Brennan just took the fight to the next level.

Then, former UN Ambassador Samantha Power decided to step into the fight. Remember, her full role in “unmasking” Americans who appeared in foreign intelligence wiretaps has yet to be exposed.

She sounds just like Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). He warned Trump last January in the midst of heavy leaks to the media by the FBI and intelligence services: “You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.” Which is true, but it does not make it right and it needs to be stopped. The Democrats seem to think threatening the President with the intelligence community is somehow okay. They show no concern for the abuse of power that might entail or for a separation of powers.

Trump, who has long called for McCabe’s firing, but said the decision was up to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, chimed in just after midnight on Twitter, calling the ouster “a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy.”

Samantha Power later tried to walk back her blustering tweet:

I don’t buy it and neither does anyone with any sense out there.

Sessions said McCabe had “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor – including under oath – on multiple occasions.” That pretty much says it all right there.

In McCabe’s own statement upon being fired, he blasted the President for having “politicized” law enforcement, accusing him of trying “to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally.” Just days before FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was terminated, he threatened to “take people down with him” if he was fired. Fox News Senior Correspondent Adam Housley noted that he had been speaking with agents in the bureau. He also tweeted, “McCabe blaming Nunes and the dossier is beyond incorrect. The internal investigation took all that into consideration and much more. Ask the agents in the bureau, not the politicians and media outside of it. That’s what I did. They had a ton of stuff on him… a ton.”

Both McCabe and Comey are now facing questions on whether they committed perjury, which they of course did. McCabe is hardly the choir boy that Brennan paints him as. And Brennan is a big reason that the CIA was corrupted under Barack Obama just as the FBI was. Firing McCabe was the right thing to do and I hope it is only the beginning of cleaning out the intelligence agencies. At least Brennan is gone and good riddance.


Details on the Firing of FBI Dep. Director Andrew McCabe

By: Denise Simon | Founders Code

Just after midnight Saturday, President Donald Trump reacted to the news in a Twitter message:

“Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy,” the president wrote, “Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!” More detail here including the timeline with former FBI Director James Comey.

The termination, which was triggered by internal reviews and comes a little more than day before McCabe was set to retire, sparks a war of words between McCabe and President Donald Trump.

Politico: Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe Friday night, dismissing the longtime bureau veteran who had been publicly pilloried by President Donald Trump and sparking a new war of words between McCabe and Trump.

Sessions said the firing — carried out a little more than a day before McCabe was set to retire from the FBI — was triggered by internal reviews that concluded McCabe violated Justice Department policies and was not forthcoming with investigators probing FBI actions before the 2016 presidential election.

Justice Department officials determined that “McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions,” the attorney general said in a statement.

“The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability,” Sessions added.

McCabe quickly lashed back Friday, linking the firing to the repeated public flogging he faced from Trump. The former FBI No. 2 also tied his dismissal to the fact that he can support former FBI Director James Comey’s account that he was fired because of an unwillingness to shut down the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

“Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey,” McCabe said in a statement. “The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President.”

“The fact that [Trump] has said all these things about me, he’s made all these attacks, he’s gone on and on — you can’t dismiss it, that’s the problem,” McCabe told POLITICO in an interview earlier this month. “That’s why presidents don’t typically attack senior executives in the FBI, because they would never even want to create the impression that that sort of improper influence could be taking place.”

Shortly after midnight, Trump hit back, tweeting: “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

Prominent Democratic lawmakers expressed skepticism about Sessions’ decision, but seemed cautious about denouncing the action until Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s review is released. Many Democrats have praised Horowitz, whose office prepared the report that appears to have harshly criticized McCabe.

“In the absence of the IG report, it’s impossible to evaluate the merits of this harsh treatment of a 21-year FBI professional. That it comes after the President urged the DOJ to deprive McCabe of his pension, and after his testimony, gives the action an odious taint,” the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff of California, tweeted.

“I am going to reserve judgment on Mr. McCabe’s conduct until the Inspector General completes his report,” the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, Jerrold Nadler of New York, said. “But I am certain that President Trump has attacked the reputation of a career public servant, and his wife, and the rest of the leadership of the Department of Justice—and those attacks leave us all questioning whether the Attorney General has made the right decision.”

By contrast, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) quickly embraced Sessions’ move.

“Decisive, appropriate, timely action by @jeffsessions to fire Andrew McCabe. DOJ/FBI are legendary, historic, important agencies filled w/amazing men & women held to highest standards,” Zeldin wrote on Twitter. “McCabe was a ringleader of rogue actors who were a shameful exception at top; not the norm.”

Mark Meadows, the leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said that McCabe’s termination showed the need to add another special counsel to probe the FBI.

“This decision is not surprising based on information that continues to unfold on a daily basis,” Meadows said.

The embattled FBI deputy, who was due to officially retire on Sunday, had stepped down in January after facing repeated public and private rebukes from the president. Trump criticized his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and accused McCabe of bias, citing his wife’s political ties to a prominent Democrat.

McCabe has been at the center of a Justice Department inspector general examination of the bureau’s activities prior to the 2016 election, including the investigation into the Clinton email matter. The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended that McCabe be fired, citing findings from the Justice Department’s inspector general’s report, which is expected to be released within weeks.

Sessions’ statement did not detail the precise allegations against McCabe. However, the fired FBI official’s own statement and text messages released by the Senate Judiciary Committee indicate that investigators concluded he ordered the disclosure of information to a Wall Street Journal reporter about an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

As McCabe was under fire over donations his wife received for her Democratic campaign for the Virginia Senate, he indicated he had pressed to keep the foundation-related probe advancing even as Justice Department officials questioned its merit.

“This entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed,” McCabe said. The disclosure “was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter,” the former FBI No. 2 added.

McCabe has pushed back at the timing of the inspector general’s report, suggesting that Trump’s frequent criticism of him has driven the speed with which the investigation concluded with a recommendation to terminate him.

“I have never before seen the type of rush to judgment and rush to summary punishment that we have witnessed in this case,” McCabe’s attorney Michael Bromwich said in a statement. ” This is simply not the way such matters are generally handled in the DOJ or the FBI. It is deeply disturbing.”

The president of the FBI Agents Association, Thomas O’Connor, issued a statement Friday night that appeared to express concern that politics may have influenced McCabe’s dismissal.

“While the FBIAA does not comment on personnel matters, the Association remains fully committed to ensuring that every FBIAA member is provided appropriate procedural protections. The FBIAA also strongly believes that personnel decisions should never be politicized,” O’Connor said.

Sessions’ statement indicated that the firing was also endorsed by the Justice Department’s top career official, Associate Deputy Attorney General Scott Schools. The statement did not indicate why the disciplinary process, which can often take more than a year, appears to have been dramatically accelerated in McCabe’s case.

After stepping down in January, McCabe went on “terminal leave,” intending to remain on the government payroll until his planned retirement on March 18. The firing is likely to cost McCabe hundreds of thousands of dollars by rendering McCabe ineligible for his full government pension and by delaying his right to any payout for almost seven years. Legal experts say McCabe’s options to challenge the firing are few because most FBI employees have little legal recourse against attempts to punish them over alleged misconduct.

A spokeswoman for McCabe declined to comment Friday night on whether he is planning a lawsuit.

McCabe told POLITICO earlier this month that he was “essentially removed from my job” in January following information “shared with” Christopher Wray, the FBI’s current director, “before the investigation was concluded.”

“I refused to serve in any other capacity other than deputy, and so I left on terminal leave,” McCabe said. Trump announced in June that he would nominate Wray to replace Comey. Wray took over the job in August, after being confirmed by the Senate.

Trump had questioned McCabe’s impartiality, citing the fact that his wife received funds from then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat and longtime political ally of Clinton, in a failed bid for the State Legislature in 2015.

“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 tweeted in December. Trump abruptly fired Comey as FBI director in May, saying he was “unable to effectively lead the Bureau.”

In a separate post, Trump added that McCabe was “racing the clock to retire with full benefits.”

Last summer, Trump questioned why Sessions had not already replaced McCabe, whom he labeled a “friend” of Comey’s.

The firing raised concerns about the integrity of the FBI’s examination of possible Russian election meddling in 2016 and potential ties to Trump campaign aides, an investigation that McCabe subsequently took charge of as acting director of the bureau.

McCabe began his bureau career at the New York field office in 1996. In January 2016, under former President Barack Obama, he was appointed to the bureau’s No. 2 position by Comey.