The Department of Justice (DOJ) settled a lawsuit with former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe on Thursday, awarding the ex-FBI official his retirement and its benefits despite his 2018 termination.
The DOJ and McCabe reached a settlement in his wrongful termination lawsuit, effectively reversing former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to fire McCabe in March 2018.
“Politics should never play a role in the fair administration of justice and civil service personnel decisions,” McCabe said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful for Arnold & Porter’s dedication to my case, and I hope that this result 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.”
Sessions terminated the FBI deputy director two days before McCabe was expected to retire from the bureau. McCabe was terminated on March 16, two days before his 50th birthday and his accrual of a full pension. He kept the pension benefits he had accrued up to that point.
McCabe received over $700,000 in the settlement, most of which went toward paying McCabe’s attorney fees for his lawsuit, according to The Washington Examiner. The former FBI official was awarded a lump sum equal to the amount he would have earned had he made his full pension, however, roughly $2,000. McCabe also received a slew of other benefits from the settlement.
According to the legal team at Arnold & Porter, the DOJ agreed to:
rescind and vacate the removal of Mr. McCabe from the FBI and civil service;
record Mr. McCabe as having been employed continuously by the FBI from 1996 until his retirement on March 19, 2018 as the FBI Deputy Director and a member of the Senior Executive Service;
deem Mr. McCabe as having retired “in good standing” for the purposes of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act; and
place Mr. McCabe into the federal retirement system as of March 19, 2018, restore his full retirement pension from that date forward, and provide various other retirement benefits.
At the time, Sessions said he fired McCabe after the DOJ inspector general and the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that McCabe made unauthorized disclosures while speaking under oath on “multiple occasions.” McCabe has consistently denied the findings and claimed that his termination was political retaliation.
“This Settlement Agreement is not and shall not be construed as an admission by any Defendant of the truth of any allegation or the validity of any claim asserted in this lawsuit, or of any Defendant’s liability therein,” the 11-page settlement said.
The inspector general report found that McCabe “lacked candor” on multiple occasions, including when meeting with then-FBI Director James Comey and during an interview under oath with FBI agents. McCabe’s conduct violated multiple FBI codes, according to the report.
McCabe was also the source of the leak that publicly revealed an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The inspector general concluded that McCabe leaked the information under conditions not beneficial to the “public interest,” but “in a manner designed to advance his personal interests.” The report stated:
Lastly, we determined that as Deputy Director, McCabe was authorized to disclose the existence of the CF Investigation publicly if such a disclosure fell within the “public interest” exception in applicable FBI and DOJ policies generally prohibiting such a disclosure of an ongoing investigation. However, we concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF Investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior Department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception. We therefore concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in this manner violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.
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