Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is accusing the Justice Department and FBI of withholding evidence in his lawsuit over his 2018 firing and has asked a federal court in Washington to compel the Justice Department to provide documents related to his termination.
“To date plaintiff has had no opportunity to take discovery,” Murad Hussain, Mr. McCabe’s attorney, wrote in a late-night filing Monday. “Plaintiff has not and cannot learn of all the relevant facts and present them in an admissible form without discovery.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
Mr. Hussain said much of the evidence compiled in the case has been culled from publicly available sources and Mr. McCabe’s records. But there is a much longer paper trail that his side cannot access, he continued.
“Much of the relevant evidence in this case is in defendants’ exclusive possession or the possession of current or former government officials,” he wrote.
The sought-after documents are in possession of the government entities as well as 30 separate individuals, according to the filing. Attorney General William Barr, Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz and President Trump were named as those in possession of documents for the case.
Mr. McCabe filed a lawsuit in August claiming that his firing was politically motivated, citing Mr. Trump’s repeated attacks on him.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired Mr. McCabe, the former No. 2 official at the FBI, after the Justice Department inspector general concluded he improperly leaked information to the media and lacked candor in interviews with federal investigators. Mr. McCabe, as deputy FBI director, became the acting FBI director when Mr. Trump fired Director James B. Comey.
Mr. McCabe, who worked for the FBI for two decades, was fired hours just before his retirement date, thus depriving him of his full government pension.
In a February 2018 report, Mr. Horowitz said the former G-man “lacked candor” with FBI brass and investigators regarding his greenlighting the disclosure of sensitive information related to an FBI probe of Hillary Clinton. The report said Mr. McCabe’s actions were “designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership.”
Mr. McCabe has claimed that Mr. Trump, in addition to his repeated public attacks, threatened top Justice Department officials, including Mr. Sessions, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mr. Horowitz, into firing him.
The suit alleges Mr. McCabe was vindictively pushed out for failing to pledge “partisan allegiance” to Mr. Trump.
The Justice Department has defended Mr. McCabe’s termination in court filings, asking a federal judge to dismiss the case.
Department lawyers said that firing is “the standard penalty” for a lack of candor.
“In the FBI, a lofty position does not lessen the need to abide by the ideals memorialized in its motto [Fidelity, Loyalty, Bravery]. To the contrary, the Deputy Director must lead first by example,” they wrote in a November filing.
The latest filing by Mr. McCabe is not the first time he’s accused the Justice Department of withholding information. His attorneys in September alleged the Justice Department would not reveal whether they referred him for prosecution. They also said the department rebuffed their efforts on whether they had even convened a grand jury.