Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has become the second high-profile former FBI employee in a week to sue the Trump administration over the terms of his termination.
McCabe was fired just before his planned retirement in March 2018. Then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement about the termination saying that federal investigators had determined that McCabe had "made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions" when questioned about the leak.
The inspector general's report accusing McCabe of the misconduct that motivated Sessions' decision was released publicly less than a month after the termination. McCabe said that he "absolutely never misled the inspector general in any way."
McCabe's lawsuit, however, claims that he was fired as a result of "unlawful retaliation for his refusal to pledge allegiance to a single man [President Donald Trump]."
The complaint asks for the court to reinstate McCabe, 51, to his old position "so he can retire in good standing and in a manner that lets him collect his full law enforcement pension, health insurance, and other retirement benefits."
Because he was fired two days ahead his scheduled retirement, McCabe was no longer eligible to receive his federal retirement benefits early and would have to wait until he reached the federal retirement age of 57.
"[McCabe] asks this Court to find that his demotion was unlawful and his purported termination was either a legal nullity or, in the alternative, unlawful," the lawsuit requests, "and to award him any and all relief necessary for him to retire as he had originally planned: as the Deputy Director of the FBI."
Part of the lawsuit contends that because the news of his termination came after close of business on Friday, the termination itself was legally invalid.
"Under applicable federal law, policy, and practice, a career civil servant who completes his or her work obligations for both weeks of a federal pay period is deemed to have been employed for the full pay period, and is therefore entitled to payment and service credit for the entire pay period," the document claims. "A termination that becomes effective after the pay period's close of business does not diminish the employee's pay or service credit for that pay period. The lawsuit requests that McCabe be retroactively reinstated so that he can retire with full benefits."
The suit comes just two days after former FBI employee Peter Strzok — whose anti-Trump text messages first became national news in 2017 — sued over the conditions of his August 2018 termination, alleging that the Trump administration canned him over "protected political speech in violation of his rights under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States."