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Jill McCabe, wife of fired deputy FBI director, pens op-ed to defend herself

President Trump has called her a "loser," and her unsuccessful run for state office almost certainly cost more than she bargained for. Jill McCabe has not publicly commented about the criticism aimed at her or her husband, the recently fired deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe. But on Monday, the Washington Post published her first remarks in an op-ed that lays out the history of her ill-fated run for the Virginia state senate and, as she puts it, "set[s] the record straight."

"I want people to know," McCabe says, "that the whole story that everything is based on is just false and utterly absurd."

She explains that she is an emergency room pediatrician, "an accidental politician" who thought little of politics until she was recruited after being quoted in a Washington Post story about expanding Medicaid and its effect on her patients.

Soon after the report appeared, she received a call from the lieutenant governor's office asking her if she'd be interested in running for the seat. She spoke with then-Lieutenant-Governor Ralph Northam, who is also a pediatric neurologist, and McCabe was convinced of the power of politics -- of how Northam "had used his medical background to advocate for the needs of the children he serves."

McCabe goes on to write that she met with then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. "The subject of Hillary Clinton never came up -- the story about her emails had not even broken when I was first approached by Northam," she wrote. "All the governor asked of me was that I support Medicaid expansion."

Trump fires FBI's Andrew McCabe, bashes him on Twitter

She also said that she told her husband that if he thought it would pose a problem for him professionally, she would not run. Andrew McCabe has said he consulted FBI ethics experts, and Jill McCabe said the two took pains to "go even beyond what the rules required," claiming that her husband did not participate in her campaign and "wouldn't even drive" his family to campaign events. She said that he only donned a campaign tee in order to take a photo to send to her parents. 

What has been mentioned frequently by critics is the funding that McCabe received from the state Democratic Party and McAuliffe's PAC -- a total of about $700,000. This, she said, was "on par with what other candidates in competitive races on both sides of the aisle received. All those contributions were publicly reported," and she reiterated, "And of course, again, Clinton's emails never came up -- if they had, I would have found that alarming, immediately reported it and likely pulled out of the campaign," adding, "I know enough from being married to Andrew for 20 years to know what is right and what is wrong."

While her loss came as a disappointment, McCabe said she enjoyed returning to normal life until a day nearly a year after her November 2015 loss, when a reporter called her in October 2016 to ask her about the contributions to her campaign "and whether there had been any influence on Andrew's decisions at the FBI."

"This could not be further from the truth. In fact, it makes no sense. Andrew's involvement in the Clinton investigation came not only after the contributions were made to my campaign but also after the race was over," McCabe responded.

Former FBI Deputy Director McCabe responds to his firing in Washington Post essay

After Mr. Trump won, McCabe said she thought it would quiet down and he "would stop coming after us." But, she continued, "How naive that was. After then-FBI Director James B. Comey was fired, we knew that Andrew could be the next target of the president's wrath."

The president's tweets accused the McCabes of corruption and threatened Andrew McCabe's job and his retirement.

"To have my personal reputation and integrity and those of my family attacked this way is beyond horrible. It feels awful every day," Jill McCabe wrote. "It keeps me up nights. I made the decision to run for office because I was trying to help people. Instead, it turned into something that was used to attack our family, my husband's career and the entire FBI."

"Nothing can prepare you for what happens when your life is turned upside down by current events," she continued. "Nothing prepares you for conversations you have to have with your teenage children. Nothing prepares you for the news crews staking out your house, your back yard, your place of business."