Jacquelyn Martin / AP
The Justice Department has agreed to restore all law enforcement benefits and provide attorney fees to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration just hours before his retirement three years ago.
The settlement will resolve a civil lawsuit filed by McCabe, who argued his ouster was the result of a “multi-year public vendetta” led by the former president.
The Justice Department demoted and then fired him on the eve of his 50th birthday in March 2018, when his FBI pension was reportedly vested.
“I think the message you’re getting loud and clear from the terms of the settlement is that this should never have happened,” McCabe said. “It sounds like a full rationale, because that is what it is.”
The deal follows a scathing online campaign by the former president to tarnish McCabe, who spent 21 years in the service of the office.
A day after the sacking, Trump tweeted that he represented “a great day for the hardworking men and women of the FBI – A great day for democracy.” Earlier, Trump had pushed the office to “clean up” and urged authorities to take action against McCabe before his scheduled retirement.
In his lawsuit, McCabe argued that the dismissal violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for his “perceived affiliation” with the Democratic Party and violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights by leaving him little time to review the evidence against him and prepare a defense in early 2018.
One of McCabe’s attorneys at the time said a senior Justice Department official told him the department made things up as they went. Correspondence between the FBI, DOJ and Inspector General obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other means suggested a race to get rid of McCabe under pressure from the White House.
Settlement talks only intensified after U.S. District Judge Randy Moss gave McCabe’s lawyers the green light to obtain documents and testimony from former and current officials involved in the dismissal, including then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and Director of the FBI. Christophe Wray.
Trump had accused McCabe of conflicts of interest because McCabe’s wife Jill unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the Virginia State Senate and accepted contributions from the party pillar and the governor of Virginia of the time, Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. McCabe countered that he led the arrangement in front of FBI attorneys and ethics officials.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz then examined McCabe’s conduct as part of a larger review of FBI activities during the 2016 election year. Horowitz concluded that McCabe was “missing” frank “when he spoke to investigators about the disclosures he authorized at the the Wall Street newspaper during the stormy presidential race. Prosecutors took the case to a federal grand jury in Washington, DC, but McCabe has never been charged with wrongdoing.
He said the IG report had been used by senior Justice Ministry officials as a “pretext” to fire him. McCabe opened an investigation into Trump after the former president sacked then FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017.
“My concern for the future is firing 26 hours before I retire sends an incredibly scary message to the rest of the men and women in the FBI,” McCabe told NPR. Morning edition two years ago. “It sends the message that if you stand up for what you think is right, and do the right thing, and live up to your obligations to this organization and the Constitution, you too could be personally targeted and lose these things. that you ‘that you have built throughout your career. “
The settlement follows mediation between McCabe and the DOJ this summer. The deal will restore all of McCabe’s retirement benefits, purge his personal file, allow the return of his FBI badge, and cover the costs of his lawyers at law firm Arnold & Porter.
His lawyer, Murad Hussain, said: “What happened to Andrew was a travesty, not just for him and his family, but the rule of law.”
Hussain said they filed a lawsuit in part “to defend the rights of all public servants, and that is exactly what this settlement does.”