Former FBI boss urges Department of Justice not to fire him days before he retires

Andrew McCabe planned to retire on Sunday with full benefits, but some or all of his pension could be at risk

FILE - In this June 7, 2017 file photo, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe appears before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Justice Department's inspector general is expected to criticize former FBI Deputy Director McCabe as part of its investigation into the bureau's handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday, March 1. 2018. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who stepped down in January under fire from president Donald Trump, is meeting on Thursday with a Justice Department official in an effort to preserve his pension, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Mr McCabe planned to retire on Sunday with full benefits, but some or all of his pension could be at risk after the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Office of Professional Responsibility recommended firing him for misleading Justice Department investigators about his supervision of probes into Hillary Clinton, Mr Trump’s presidential opponent, said the source

Sunday is McCabe’s birthday, which triggers his eligibility for full pension benefits, the source said.

Attorney general Jeff Sessions is out of town on Thursday, so Mr McCabe will be meeting with a person in deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein’s office to make his final appeal, the source said.

Mr McCabe, a 20-plus-year FBI veteran and lifelong Republican, has been a target of Mr Trump and others who have questioned whether his role in the investigations was politically biased or compromised because his wife, a Democrat, got donations for her Virginia state Senate campaign from Virginia’s then governor, Terry McAuliffe, a close ally of the Clintons.

If the attorney general fires Mr McCabe, he could be accused of bending to the will of the president, who has attacked the FBI man on Twitter for his role in the Clinton investigations while his wife received donations from what Trump called “Clinton Puppets.”

But if Mr McCabe is allowed to stay until his retirement, he could face a backlash from conservatives who have attacked the FBI.

It is unclear what will determine if Mr McCabe can retain all or part of his pension if he is fired, the source said.

In general, the impact of a person’s termination depends on facts and circumstances, according to a Justice Department spokeswoman.

The recommendation to fire Mr McCabe was based on a report by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which according to the source says he misled investigators about his communications with a former Wall Street Journal reporter.

Mr McCabe denies misleading them in any way.

On two occasions in 2016, Mr McCabe authorised an FBI public affairs officer to talk to a Wall Street Journal reporter who was writing about his role in probes related to Hillary Clinton, the source said.

The FBI has said that at the time Mr McCabe got involved in one of the probes, into Mrs Clinton’s use of a private email server, his wife’s campaign was over.

One article that discussed Mr McCabe’s role in the investigation into the Clintons’ charitable foundation claimed some agents thought he was trying to quash the probe - which Mr McCabe said was not true.