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Fired FBI Official Andrew McCabe Awarded Settlement In Civil Lawsuit Against Bureau

Fired FBI Official Andrew McCabe Awarded Settlement In Civil Lawsuit Against Bureau

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration only hours before his retirement three years ago, has emerged victorious in his lawsuit against the Bureau. McCabe was awarded his full law enforcement benefits, as well as some attorney fees.

The Justice Department, under Donald Trump’s orders, demoted and then dismissed McCabe on the night before his 50th birthday in March 2018, when his FBI annuity benefits would have been fully vested.

FBI/Flickr; Gage Skidmore/Flickr

In his lawsuit, McCabe argued that his firing violated his First Amendment rights by punishing him for his “perceived affiliation” with the Democratic Party. McCabe also said the dismissal violated his Fifth Amendment due process rights by leaving him with little time to review the evidence against him and prepare a defense in early 2018.

Trump had accused McCabe of conflicts of interest because McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe, ran without success for a seat in the Virginia Senate and accepted contributions from Democratic Party stalwart and then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Andrew McCabe countered that he had run the arrangement past FBI lawyers and ethics officials.

One of McCabe’s attorneys at the time said a senior Justice Department official told him the department was making things up as it went along. Correspondence among the FBI, the DOJ, and the inspector general obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and other means suggested a race to get rid of McCabe under pressure from Trump’s White House.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz had also examined McCabe’s conduct as part of a broader review of FBI activities in 2016. Horowitz concluded that McCabe “lacked candor” when he spoke with investigators about disclosures he authorized to The Wall Street Journal during the heated presidential race. Prosecutors brought the matter to a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., but McCabe was never charged with criminal wrongdoing.

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McCabe said the inspector general report was used by senior Justice Department officials as a “pretext” to dismiss him. McCabe opened investigations into Trump after the then-president fired then-FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017. The Justice Department did not admit wrongdoing or apologize to McCabe in the court filing late Thursday, but one part of the document says, “the Parties agree that Executive Branch officials outside the Department of Justice and its components should not comment publicly on ongoing career civil service employee disciplinary matters … so as not to create any appearance of improper political influence.”

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