A MARTINEZ, HOST:
The FBI official who was fired after a brutal campaign of insults from former President Donald Trump is settling his lawsuit with the Justice Department. Andrew McCabe will be allowed to collect his full federal retirement benefits under the terms of the deal. He spoke with NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson about his case this week.
CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Andy McCabe says there's a simple reason why he sued the government he served for 21 years.
ANDREW MCCABE: I didn't file it to get rich. I didn't file it to take down the Justice Department. I filed it to recover the benefits that had been unfairly and improperly taken from me and my family. And I filed it to try to restore my reputation.
JOHNSON: The Justice Department fired McCabe from his job at the FBI in 2018, only hours before his law enforcement pension would have vested. Justice leaders cited what they called his lack of candor about a media leak investigation. Former President Trump tweeted, it was a good day for the men and women at the bureau. But McCabe argued he was let go because of undue political pressure and without being given due process. Now, three years later, the Biden Justice Department has agreed to reverse the dismissal, restore McCabe's pension and health care and pay some attorney's fees.
MCCABE: It feels like complete vindication because that's what it is.
JOHNSON: I asked what the settlement means to him.
MCCABE: I think the message that you get loud and clear from the terms of the settlement is that this should never have happened.
JOHNSON: Settlement talks intensified last summer after a judge gave McCabe the green light for documents and testimony from current and former justice officials involved in his firing. The country's civil servants are still recovering from drama during the Trump administration, when the president fired FBI Director Jim Comey and eventually pushed out the deputy director, McCabe. Trump lambasted McCabe because his wife ran for the state Senate in Virginia and accepted a contribution from then-Governor Terry McAuliffe, an ally of the Clintons. Now that Trump is out of office and McCabe has settled with new leaders at the Justice Department, McCabe says he's hopeful that signals a return to normalcy.
MCCABE: I'm hoping that men and women in the FBI and, more broadly, people in the civil service see this as a restoration of what we all believe in from the beginning - that people should be treated fairly, that they should be treated properly under the law and according to the processes that protect us all.
JOHNSON: McCabe says the last few years have been hard, especially for his parents and his kids. He's been teaching national security law and working as a TV analyst for CNN. McCabe says he's not sure what the future holds, but he's glad he stood up for himself against the DOJ and the White House.
Carrie Johnson, NPR News, Washington.
(SOUNDBITE OF CFCF'S "RAINING PATTERNS")
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