Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the FBI, the Justice Department and its inspector general, alleging the Trump administration violated procedures when it fired him in March just hours before his retirement.
In the 36-page complaint filed in federal court in the District of Columbia, his attorneys argue that the Justice Department is refusing to hand over documents relating to the policies and procedures related to Mr. McCabe’s dismissal because it fears further litigation.
The Justice Department cited “lack of candor” as a reason for its dismissal of Mr. McCabe on March 16, just before his scheduled March 18 retirement. Mr. McCabe had worked at the FBI for more than two decades, but the firing upended Mr. McCabe’s ability to collect his benefits and pension early.
“We don’t create or adjudicate under secret law or procedure,” David Snyder, an attorney for Mr. McCabe, told The Associated Press.
The lawsuit was filed just two days before Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is expected to release a report detailing the handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Mr. McCabe is one of the top FBI officials under scrutiny for his handling of the probe and the investigation into suspected Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.
The former deputy director of the FBI has often come under attack from Republicans and President Trump over his wife’s campaign for state office, after she accepted donations from former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is a Clinton ally. Republicans have raised questions about potential conflicts of interest since Mr. McCabe was taking part in the Clinton investigation.
The inspector general has referred him to the Justice Department for possible criminal charges after it was revealed he had shared information to the press.
The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the complaint filed Tuesday.
The lawsuit relies on the Freedom of Information Act, which allows for the partial or full disclosure of government records.
Mr. McCabe’s attorneys say the withholding of the documents is harming their client, who wants “to vindicate [his] rights and restore his good name.”
“Defendants have been required for over 50 years to proactively disclose the kinds of documents at issue here, and there is no just reason for either their failure to do so now or for any further delay,” the complaint reads.
But Washington-based attorney Mark Zaid said delays in FOIA requests are not rare.
“McCabe absolutely has a legal right to any non-exempt documents but delays are common and expected, as FOIA requests are processed first-in, first out and there are many, many requests ahead of his. The notion of accusing an agency of stonewalling after a few months is just not realistic,” Mr. Zaid said.
The Justice Department said it dismissed Mr. McCabe for administrative misconduct, which Mr. McCabe denies.
Mr. McCabe is asking the court to compel the Trump administration to hand over the documents detailing his dismissal, which could lead to a subsequent lawsuit for wrongful termination.
Bradley Moss, a national security lawyer, responded to the lawsuit on Twitter by saying “I think the firing of McCabe was likely legally justified but was done in a petty and vindictive way.”
Harvard Law School professor Alan Dershowitz told Fox News that Mr. McCabe is “entitled to due process.”
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