The Justice Department has agreed to restore former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s full pension as part of its settlement of McCabe’s lawsuit stemming from his firing from the bureau more than three-and-a-half years ago, his lawyer announced Thursday.
McCabe sued the Justice Department and FBI in August 2019, arguing that his March 2018 dismissal by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a political move ordered by then-President Donald Trump.
The Trump DOJ had justified McCabe’s firing by citing an internal probe which found he had authorized the leaking of information to the Wall Street Journal and lied to investigators about it. The settlement announced Thursday vacates that decision and expunges from McCabe’s personnel folder any references to having been fired.
It does not, however, undo DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s finding that McCabe had not been candid with Horowitz’s investigators. The Justice Department also did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
McCabe was dismissed two days before his 50th birthday, when he planned to retire and would have been eligible to collect his pension.
“Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and civil service personnel decisions,” McCabe said in a statement, adding that he hoped his settlement “encourages the men and women of the FBI to continue to protect the American people by standing up for the truth and doing their jobs without fear of political retaliation.”
McCabe was a favorite whipping boy of Trump following the then-president’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017. McCabe became acting director of the bureau following Comey’s firing, a position he held until August when current Director Christopher Wray took over.
Trump held up McCabe as an example of the bureau’s bias against him during its ongoing Russia investigation, repeatedly noting that the FBI official’s wife had run for elected office as a Democrat, and accepted donations from a political action committee associated with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close political ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
When McCabe was fired, Trump cheered the move as a “great day for Democracy.”
As part of the settlement, McCabe is also entitled to other benefits afforded to retiring FBI senior executives, including special cufflinks and “official FBI credentials, badge, and time-in-service award keys mounted in the format typically provided to retiring FBI Deputy Directors” and other senior officials.
“For 140 years, civil servants like Andrew McCabe have been the federal government’s backbone, pledging their loyalty to the Constitution rather than to any politician or political party,” Murad Hussain, a lawyer for McCabe, said in a statement.
“This settlement and the district court’s rulings make clear that attempts to corrupt the federal workforce through partisan intimidation and improper political influence will not go unanswered,” he added.
With Post wires