Back, way back, in the early 1980s, the New York office of the United States Customs Service experienced a full-fledged scandal concerning illegal kickbacks, graft, extortion and more, much more, including obstruction of justice. High-level customs officials went to jail.
The Area Director of the Port of Newark was charged with illegally raising the prices a bit extra, shall we say, for licenses and permits in the port. The extra proceeds, apparently, were directed to his personal coffers, not the government's. Other high-ranking officials were indicted for other illegal activities such as outright theft of imported goods and, as did the Area Director, served time in prison.
While I was working at Newark I recall quite vividly the morning anxiety of wondering who was going to be taken away in handcuffs that day, the goal of which was to put all employees on notice. (Note to my right-wing readers: no, I wasn't among them.)
What was not done, however, was not allowing those who were eligible to retire and collect their earned pensions. The pensions had nothing to do with the penalties for the crimes committed. That was determined in a court of law. Yes, people lost their jobs but, if they were eligible, they did not lose their pensions because one thing had nothing to do with the other.
Now let's jump to 2018 and The Donald whose every action in life has to do with how he perceives himself and how he perceives others acting towards him. In the life of The Donald everything is personal.
Pressuring the Department of Justice to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was personal. It also transcended cruelty and was sadistic.
Again, one thing has nothing to do with the other. To my knowledge, treason is the only crime specifically mentioned as justification for being stripped of one's pension. Politics is not a basis. Having a wife run as a Democrat and receive a significant campaign contribution from Terry McCauliffe is not a basis. Even confirming the statements of former FBI Director James Comey is not a basis. Likewise, the Inspector General Report, even if it recommends firing, is not a basis for losing one's pension.
The fact that the report has not even come out formally yet is clear evidence that the action to fire McCabe a day or two before he reached his 50th birthday and became eligible for full pension benefits is personal, cruel and sadistic. Moreover, there is a process involved in firing and that process was not followed. In the world of Trump there may be no room for due process, but in a Democratic society there not only is room for due process, it is required. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution immediately comes to mind.
Granted, it is unlikely the firing will withstand review by the Merit Systems Protections Board (MSPB) since McCabe was not given the normal 60 days to rebut the action. Regardless, this action says much, much more about whom we currently have in the White House than it does about McCabe who, as someone recently pointed out to me, may have been overly “chatty” in the opinion of the Inspector General. Overly chatty is a far cry from treason.
What this cruel and sadistic action by our president has done, however, in addition to further exposing his character or lack thereof, is to provide an opportunity for others in government to demonstrate courage and honor. Hats off to both our own Congressman Jamie Raskin as well as Congressman Mark Pocan, each of whom extended an offer to Andrew McCabe for a government job which would allow him to earn the extra couple of days needed for full pension eligibility. Clearly Congress is still part of the federal government so working for either Congressman would allow McCabe the opportunity to earn the needed days. There is no requirement, of course, that government service needs to be continuous without any breaks in service even if only two days.
More importantly than McCabe's pension, the offers by these two Congressmen serve to put this administration on notice that there are government officials who will not tolerate this abhorrent behavior by our president, his total disregard for normal and acceptable behavior, and the Constitution. There are, indeed, government officials who are willing to stand up to him in defense of what is right, moral, and honorable. Bravo to Congressmen Jamie Raskin and Mark Pocan!