Dec 23, 2017

Report: FBI deputy director plans to retire

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe plans to retire in March "when he becomes fully eligible for pension benefits" according to a new report from the Washington Post.

Why it matters: McCabe is reportedly going to retire early because of the intense criticism he's received from Republicans, particularly as Special Counsel Bob Mueller's investigation has widened. And that scrutiny picked up after Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey because conservatives and Republicans wanted him to answer for Comey's decisions.

"The pressure on McCabe has only intensified," WashPost notes. The House Intelligence Committee recently questioned him for eight hours and two days after he went to Congress where he answered nine hours' worth of questions from the House Judiciary and Oversight committees.

Republicans are particularly mad at the FBI over their almost-relationship with the author behind the Trump-Russia dossier. After the 2016 election, the FBI reportedly offered to pay "to keep pursuing leads and information, but the agreement was never finalized," per WashPost.

Earlier today, from Axios AM: President Trump's public lashing of the FBI, and the criticism by normally supportive Republican members of Congress, have damaged bureau morale, the N.Y. Times reports:

Director Christopher Wray, trying to move past his predecessor's era, "has kept a low profile, making sure his anodyne speeches inside and outside the F.B.I. do not inflame the White House."

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.