Donald Trump did a lot of filthy, horrible things as president. But one of the filthiest was firing former acting FBI Director Andy McCabe just hours before his full pension would vest. It was an act of naked corruption, which Attorney General Merrick Garland finally put right yesterday, inking a settlement with McCabe that restores him to his full pension and allows him to retire with all the honors he earned in 30 years of service to the country.

FBI Director James Comey's second in command got crosswise with Trump thanks to his role in the Russia investigation, the obstruction of justice inquiry after Trump fired Comey, and the Mueller Report. McCabe was relentlessly attacked by Trump and his allies, for the most ridiculous shit. They pretended to see a smoking gun in the fact that McCabe's wife had run for state Senate in Virginia in 2015 and received a donation from Terry McAuliffe, a Clinton ally — science proof that the FBI's investigation of Hillary Clinton's email server was BIASSSSSS.

"Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!" Trump tweeted on July 17, 2017, in case his frothy wingnut minions hadn't worked out who the evil deep state villain of the day was supposed to be.


After Trump and then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions ginned up an expedited Inspector General inquiry into McCabe's contacts with reporters, which said that he'd been untruthful in interviews, McCabe announced on January 29, 2018, that he was stepping down from the FBI and would use accrued leave time until his 50th birthday on March 18, 2018, at which point he could retire with a full pension after 30 years at the Bureau.

But Trump had already tweeted out his orders on December 23, 2017: "FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!" so Sessions knew what he had to do.

At 10 p.m. on March 16, Sessions fired McCabe, in violation of DOJ policy which would have given him 30 days notice prior to dismissal, on the theory that McCabe had potentially perjured himself to the IG — in reality, he immediately corrected his testimony after realizing he was mistaken. This had the effect of denying him an honorable retirement with a full pension.

"Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI - A great day for Democracy," Trump tweeted the next morning.

But the DOJ wasn't done with Trump's pisspants vendetta against McCabe. The FBI spent more than a year trying and failing to get a grand jury in DC to indict McCabe for perjury. Do you know how crap your case is if you can't get a grand jury to go along with it? Really, really crap. And they'd probably have kept at it forever if US District Judge Reggie Walton hadn't accused the DOJ of "banana republic" tactics in a FOIA suit filed by CREW seeking documents related to the firing. After months of saying that they couldn't possibly hand over that information due to an ongoing criminal investigation, the judge told the government to put up or shut up by December 14, 2019. Finally, on February 14, 2020, the DOJ admitted in a letter to McCabe's lawyers that they'd come up empty and he was no longer in jeopardy.

But that didn't stop Bill Barr from siccing John Durham on McCabe to see if maybe he could make something stick, because if you can't use the government to persecute your enemies, then what's the point of power, right?

In August 2019, McCabe filed a wrongful termination suit against the DOJ alleging that he was fired for improper partisan purpose. Which, uh, ya think?

And yesterday the DOJ settled that suit, giving McCabe everything he wanted, right down to his Senior Executive Service cufflinks. They're reinstating him as of March 16, 2018, dating his retirement to March 18, and giving him his full pension, including back payments. They're even coughing up $539,348.15 for his legal fees to Arnold & Porter, which pledged to donate the money to its private foundation that "provides scholarships to minority law students, funds fellowships for recent law school graduates at tax-exempt organizations, and awards grants to other charitable and educational organizations."

Which is a happy ending of sorts. It doesn't undo the years of relentless attacks McCabe and his family suffered and will probably continue to suffer for the rest of their lives. Nor does it remove the stain from this act of naked corruption, one of so many, on our country's history. But it's something.

[WaPo / McCabe v. Barr/Garland, docket via Court Listener]

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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.

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