'I don't feel free': McCabe expects to remain Trump target after winning back pension

McCabe has repeatedly denied deception. He has not faced criminal charges and has said his firing was politically motivated. In an interview with CNN Thursday night, he again said “never at any time did I mislead anyone.”

“This was clearly an act of vindication against a perceived political enemy,” McCabe said, adding that the current DOJ is “standing up for fairness and standing up for the rule of law.”

“In the settlement agreement itself, they agree that members of the executive branch should not interfere in internal personnel matters because it creates the appearance of political influence,” he said.

In addition to restoring his full retirement pension, the federal government also agreed to rescind and vacate his firing. McCabe has now officially retired in good standing.

The former FBI deputy director said Thursday he was shocked the legal process took 20 months to produce Thursday’s results. He said inspector generals refer reports to prosecutors regularly, often resolving disputes in days or weeks.

“This went on for 20 months. I personally believe that it was necessary,” McCabe said. “It was necessary for the Department of Justice to pursue this vindictive, criminal prosecution to validate what they had done with my firing. It was an effort to keep the story straight, to keep perpetuating this myth. It was incredibly damning.”

McCabe didn’t mince his words when it came to talking about the toll the process has taken on his family.

“I can’t tell you what this has been like going through. What this whole vindictive campaign has put my wife through. My children. My parents,” he said. “I mean, to know that you essentially have a target on your back from the most powerful person in the world. … It was like upside-down world.”

And McCabe doesn’t think he’s seen the end of it.

“I don’t feel free. I don’t kid myself to think that the president is going to put aside his horrific judgment, his constant lying and his tormenting of me and my family,” he said. “I’m sure this will just add another log to the fire. He’ll probably be saying all kinds of things about it tomorrow. But you know what? I’m just to the point where I don’t care. I don’t care what that guy has to say.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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