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Andrew McCabe, shown here in 2017, was fired in 2018 by the Trump administration hours before his retirement.
Trump had accused McCabe of conflicts of interest because McCabe’s wife, Jill, ran without success for a seat in the Virginia state Senate and accepted contributions from party stalwart and then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton. McCabe countered that he had run the arrangement past FBI lawyers and ethics officials.
Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz later examined McCabe’s conduct as part of a broader review of FBI activities in the election year of 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.
He said the IG report was used by senior Justice Department officials as a «pretext» to dismiss him. McCabe opened investigations into Trump after the former president fired then-FBI Director James Comey in the spring of 2017.
«The thing that concerns me going forward is firing me 26 hours before my retirement sends an unbelievably chilling message to the rest of the men and women of the FBI,» McCabe told NPR’s Morning Edition two years ago. «It sends a message that if you stand up for what you think is right, and you do the right thing, and you honor your obligations to this organization and the Constitution, that you too could be personally targeted and lose those things that you’ve been building towards your whole career.»
The Justice Department did not admit wrongdoing or apologize to McCabe in the court filing late Thursday, but one part of the document said, «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.»
The settlement follows mediation between McCabe and the DOJ this summer. The deal will restore McCabe’s full retirement package, purge his personnel file, allow for the return of his FBI badge, and cover fees for his attorneys at the Arnold & Porter law firm.
His attorney, 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 take a stand for the rights of all civil servants, and that’s exactly what this settlement does.»
- Andrew McCabe
- Justice Department