Former Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is meeting with the Justice Department to make the case for why he should be allowed to retire rather than be fired, according to an individual familiar with the meeting.
The threat of firing arose after it came to light McCabe allegedly misled internal investigators looking into looking into an array of matters connected to the 2016 presidential campaign.
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CNN reported on Thursday that McCabe and his lawyers are meeting with the Justice Department officials in an attempt to dissuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions from firing the embattled FBI official. At stake is not only McCabe's proffesional integrity but also a pension estimated to be worth nearly $2 million dollars.
Last year, McCabe announced he would exercise his ability to take early retirement when he became eligible in 2018. Members of the bureau are eligible to retire provided they are 50 years of age and have served for at least 20 years. In late January, McCabe surprised many by announcing he would vacate his post earlier than expected. Since then, he has remained on the FBI payroll through accrued vacation time.
McCabe came under fire this week after the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility recommended he be terminated. The decision followed a year-long inspector general probe into whether McCabe should have done more to shield certain investigations from potential conflicts of interest, an investigation that just recently resulted in a draft report on the former deputy director, ABC News reports.
In the draft report, internal investigators conclude McCabe went too far in trying to push back against media reports questioning whether family ties to Democrats could impact his work, particularly when he authorized FBI officials to speak with a reporter about the agency’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a source familiar with the findings.
But the draft report takes particular issue with how forthcoming McCabe was when Justice Department officials asked him questions about his actions, according to the source.
Those close to McCabe insist he has been forthcoming with investigators.
Even prior to the watchdog's report, McCabe had drawn the ire of President Donald Trump and those critical of potential political bias. The president was particularly critical of the fact that McCabe's wife had received over $600,000 from groups connected to long-standing Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe during a failed campaign for the Virginia State Senate in 2015. McCabe also faced criticism following allegations he received the statement exonerating former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of wrongdoing months before she was even interviewed by the FBI in its investigation into her use of a private email server
McCabe's tenure overseeing the Clinton investigation was likely a consideration in him being passed over for promotion to the FBI's top spot after James Comey's dismissal. McCabe had served as acting director from May to August of 2017, filling in for Comey, before being snubbed by the president in favor of Christopher Wray.
The Washington Free Beacon first broke that McCabe is set to receive a pension worth $1.8 million dollars once his retirement becomes effective. McCabe, who served in the FBI for 21 years, will be eligible to start drawing a pension amounting to $55,230 annually. If he is fired by the attorney general, as recommended by the FBI's Office of Professional Responsibility, before his official retirement date of March 18, 2018, he will lose his pension and all retirement benefits.
Sessions has until Friday, March 16 to make a final determination on McCabe's employment.