The Justice Department has reversed former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s firing, charging that the Trump administration unlawfully terminated him on the eve of his retirement for political purposes.
According to the New York Times, the 53-year-old McCabe will be granted full retirement, allowing him to receive his pension and other benefits as well as $200,000 in missed pension payments.
“In addition, the department agreed to expunge any mention of his firing from F.B.I. personnel records,” noted the Times. “The agreement even made clear that he would receive the cuff links given to senior executives and a plaque with his mounted F.B.I. credentials and badge.”
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Andrew McCabe in 2018 for allegedly lying to investigators about releasing unauthorized information to the Wall Street Journal regarding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email servers. The firing occurred just one day prior to McCabe’s retirement, a firing his lawyers argued was politically motivated due to his role in the Russian collusion investigation. Per the Times:
Mr. McCabe and his lawyers had argued that he was fired because he refused to swear loyalty to the president at the time. He also had been part of F.B.I. leadership that opened an investigation into whether any Trump campaign associates had conspired with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. Mr. Trump repeatedly called the inquiry a witch hunt and fired the F.B.I. director at the time, James B. Comey, after expressing his fury about the investigation.
Nearly a month after he was fired, the inspector general released his findings, issuing a report on Mr. McCabe’s conduct, saying he had failed to be completely honest in answering questions about his role in the news media leak about the Clinton case.
Mr. McCabe sued over his dismissal, saying he was a victim of political retaliation. In the suit, he said that Mr. Sessions, Mr. Wray and others “served as Trump’s personal enforcers rather than the nation’s highest law enforcement officials, catering to Trump’s unlawful whims instead of honoring their oaths to uphold the Constitution.”
Prosecutors under former Attorney General William Barr ultimately declined to indict McCabe for his alleged conduct – a move that that was largely interpreted as a signal to President Trump that the DoJ would remain independent from the White House.
In a statement, McCabe expressed hope that the reversal of his firing will give “hope” to future civil servants to stand up for truth. He said:
Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and Civil Service personnel decisions. I hope that this result encourages the men and women of the F.B.I. to continue to protect the American people by standing up for the truth and doing their jobs without fear of political retaliation.
Murad Hussain, one of McCabe’s lawyers from the firm Arnold & Porter, referred to the former FBI official’s firing as a “travesty” on the rule of law.
“What happened to Andrew was a travesty, not just for him and his family, but the rule of law,” said Hussain. “We filed this suit to restore his retirement benefits, restore his reputation and take a stand for the rights of all civil servants, and that’s exactly what this settlement does.”