https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics ... trump-barrFormer FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a frequent target of U.S. President Donald Trump’s ire, sued the FBI and the Justice Department on Thursday over his firing.
READ MORE: Trump may have committed a crime, ex-FBI official Andrew McCabe tells ’60 Minutes’
The lawsuit, the second this week from an ex-FBI official challenging the circumstances of his termination, says the firing was part of Trump’s plan to rid the bureau of leaders he perceived as disloyal to him.
The complaint contends that the two officials responsible for demoting and then firing McCabe — FBI Director Chris Wray and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions — created a pretext to force him out in accordance with the president’s wishes.
The stated reason for the firing was that McCabe had misled investigators over his involvement in a news media leak, but McCabe says the real reason was “his refusal to pledge allegiance to a single man.”
“Trump demanded Plaintiff’s personal allegiance, he sought retaliation when Plaintiff refused to give it, and Sessions, Wray, and others served as Trump’s personal enforcers rather than the nation’s highest law enforcement officials, catering to Trump’s unlawful whims instead of honoring their oaths to uphold the Constitution,” the lawsuit says.
The federal complaint accuses the FBI and Justice Department of straying from established policies, with Wray refusing to tell McCabe why he was being fired and a senior Justice Department lawyer telling McCabe’s own lawyer that they were “making it up as we go along.”
It says the government sped up disciplinary proceedings so McCabe could be fired ahead of his planned retirement and without receiving full benefits. The lawsuit asks for a judge to declare McCabe’s firing unconstitutional and to declare him entitled to his full pension and other benefits.
Spokespeople for the FBI and Justice Department declined to comment Thursday.
McCabe has been a target of Trump’s attacks since even before he was elected, after news emerged in the fall of 2016 that McCabe’s wife had accepted campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate there.
McAuliffe is a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who was being investigated at the time for her use of a personal email server.
Trump seized on the news, falsely claiming that McCabe oversaw the Clinton email investigation at the time the contributions were made and that McCabe had decided to close the FBI investigation into her without bringing charges.
The attacks continued after Trump’s victory, with the president working to force McCabe from government by pressuring Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and others, the lawsuit says.
After McCabe refused on policy grounds to publicly refute a news story about contacts between Russia and Trump campaign associates, the then-White House chief of staff Reince Priebus told McCabe that he and the FBI were “not being good partners” to Trump, according to the complaint.
“Trump’s purge targeted Plaintiff in particular because Trump had already decided during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign that Plaintiff was his partisan enemy by virtue of Plaintiff’s marriage,” the lawsuit said.
Around the time of Wray’s August 2017 swearing-in as FBI director, Sessions asked him to fire McCabe, the lawsuit says. Wray refused, saying he would not allow personnel decisions to be politicized.
In December, Trump took to Twitter to call for McCabe’s firing, retweeting the comment of another user that said, “Wray needs to clean house. Now we know the politicization even worse than McCabe’s ties to McAuliffe/Clinton.”
McCabe was fired in March 2018 after a Justice Department inspector general report found he had repeatedly misstated his involvement in a news media disclosure regarding FBI investigations involving Clinton. The watchdog office referred the matter to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, which has been investigating.
McCabe has denied any wrongdoing, and has said the inspector general’s conclusions relied on mischaracterizations and omissions, including of information favourable to McCabe.
On Tuesday, former FBI agent Peter Strzok, who was fired over derogatory text messages he sent about Trump, also sued the FBI and Justice Department. He said the FBI had been influenced by “unrelenting pressure” from the president when it fired him.
McCabe spent 21 years with the FBI. He became acting director in May 2017 after the president fired former director James Comey.
Both men are demanding reinstatement of their jobs with back pay, and McCabe is demanding his pension be reinstated.Former FBI officials Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok, who were each fired by the Trump administration after facing intense criticism from the president, both filed lawsuits against the Justice Department this week alleging unlawful political retaliation.
McCabe filed his lawsuit Thursday, arguing his January 2018 demotion from the deputy FBI director position and his March 2018 firing from the FBI were “politically motivated and retaliatory.” He added that they harmed his “reputation, professional standing, and dramatically reduced his retirement benefits.”
Just two days earlier, Strzok had filed his own suit, arguing that his firing from the FBI in August 2018 was “because of his protected political speech” and violated his First Amendment rights. Both men are seeking reinstatement of their positions and lost pay.
Both McCabe and Strzok had spent decades in the FBI before becoming involved in the politically charged investigations related to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — and then in their individual controversies.
Even before Trump fired FBI Director James Comey and went to war with his own Justice Department in 2017, the president was fixated on McCabe due to his wife Jill’s previous unsuccessful campaign for a state Senate seat as a Democrat in Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA), a longtime close ally of the Clintons, had helped her raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for her campaign.
McCabe rose to acting FBI director after Comey’s firing, and was in that role for the first few months of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. He returned to the deputy role once Chris Wray was confirmed by the Senate as Comey’s replacement.
But McCabe became embroiled in a leak investigation as the Justice Department sought to find the source behind an October 2016 Wall Street Journal story about internal deliberations about an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe had in fact authorized these leaks, and the Justice Department’s inspector general, Michael Horowitz, concluded he lacked candor when asked about them by investigators.
Strzok, meanwhile, was assigned as the lead FBI agent to Mueller’s team. But he didn’t last long there. Stzrok had been having an affair with his FBI colleague Lisa Page, and they had exchanged thousands of politically charged text messages — including many disparaging comments about then-candidate Trump — on FBI devices. While investigating those leaks, Horowitz’s team found those Strzok-Page messages, and Mueller quickly removed Strzok from his team.
Both McCabe and Strzok came under intense criticism from conservative commentators, Republican members of Congress, and the president himself.
FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2017
FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who headed the Clinton & Russia investigations, texted to his lover Lisa Page, in the IG Report, that “we’ll stop” candidate Trump from becoming President. Doesn’t get any lower than that!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2018
Eventually, both McCabe and Strzok were fired, in somewhat strange circumstances.
First, McCabe had let it be known in 2017 that he was planning to retire — but only once he became fully eligible for his pension, in March. But, a little more than 24 hours before he became eligible, the Justice Department fired McCabe, citing the inspector general’s findings in the leak investigation. The timing is certainly curious, and the consequence is that McCabe won’t be able to draw his pension for several years.
Second, Strzok had been moved to the FBI’s human resources division as the Justice Department reviewed his conduct with regard to those politically charged text messages. On August 8, 2018, an FBI official in the Office of Professional Responsibility decided that he shouldn’t be fired, but rather demoted and suspended for 60 days. But then, the very next day, Strzok was fired immediately, without being given a chance to appeal the decision.
Now both McCabe and Strzok have filed lawsuits arguing that politics was the real reason behind both of the firings.
Having trouble finding a source I trust for this, but apparently McCabe's suit alleges that he never received a formal termination from the FBI- Sessions just announced he was fired by press conference. And he is asking the court to rule on whether he is still, and has been for the last year and a half, lawfully an employee of the FBI.
If true, then... wow. Trump's Regime sucks so hard it can't even manage to fill out the paperwork for its political purge.