Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pleaded his case in the deputy attorney general’s office at the Department of Justice Thursday in an eleventh-hour effort to avoid being fired and losing his pension before his 50th birthday, sources told CNN.
McCabe’s pension is reportedly worth $1.8 million.
The FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility has recommended McCabe be terminated and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reviewing the recommendation. If he approves it by 5:00 p.m. Eastern on Friday, McCabe loses his benefits.
The White House said earlier on Thursday that any decision made would be the attorney general’s alone: “That’s a determination that we would leave up to Attorney General Sessions,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on Thursday.
“But we do think that it is well-documented that he has had some very troubling behavior. And by most accounts [he’s] a bad actor and should have some cause for concern,” she said.
McCabe was set to retire on Sunday with full benefits, but findings in an internal Justice Department watchdog report threw a wrench in his plans.
The inspector general found that McCabe misled Justice Department investigators about his supervision of probes into Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election season, including his authorization of classified leaks to the media about the Clinton Foundation investigation.
“I think that McCabe is getting his comeuppance,” said former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova on Laura Ingraham’s radio show Thursday. But he added, “I find it hard to believe that Jeff Sessions is going to fire him before his pension vests. It looks rather vindictive, but may I say that vindictiveness at this point in the story is completely appropriate.”
DiGenova blamed McCabe and former FBI director Comey for a “completely politicized” FBI and said they’re destroying the institution.
He also recommended that Trump fire current FBI director Christopher Wray.
“The place is a mess and the current FBI director is on a milk carton somewhere. You can’t even find him,” diGenova said. “He’s a nothingburger — he’s an empty suit.”
Fox News judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano said Thursday that McCabe “has become the poster boy for a politicized and morally relativist FBI, neither of which the country wants.”
Napolitano said that McCabe being denied his pension after a 22-year career would constitute “almost irreparable harm.”
“I have never heard, in all the years I have been doing this, of somebody being fired the day before their pension kicks in so that the pension won’t kick in,” the judge said, predicting a legal battle if McCabe does not receive his pension.
According to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, his pension is likely to be reduced, but won’t be taken away entirely because there are too many legal hurdles to cross.