The Department of Justice’s inspector general has referred its findings with regard to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the U.S. Attorney’s office with the recommendation it be handled as a criminal matter.
In a report issued last week, Inspector General Michael Horowitz concluded McCabe “lacked candor” in numerous, separate conversations with FBI agents, the inspector general’s office, and then-FBI Director James Comey over information McCabe leaked to a reporter with The Wall Street Journal in 2016.
Although the matter has been turned over to the U.S. Attorney with the recommendation for criminal charges, it is unclear whether the investigation will result in a criminal prosecution.
According to the inspector general’s report, McCabe directed a FBI attorney to speak to a Journal reporter to provide details about a telephone conversation McCabe held with a top DOJ official and told FBI investigators he was unaware who had the leaked information.
Mr. McCabe, it is alleged, provided a similar account of events to Mr. Comey.
The inspector general’s report also concluded McCabe had flouted FBI media rules by approving the leak of information to the Journal. McCabe contends he alerted Comey of his intent to leak information ahead of the disclosure.
The information leaked to the Journal was related to an October 2016 story appearing in the newspaper over purported conflicts at the FBI in its handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe.
Contesting the inspector general’s conclusions, McCabe has stated he never intended to mislead anyone and has since attempted to correct his errors. Similarly, McCabe has said he never violated rules over contact with the media, stating he held the authority to engage with journalists.
Defending himself in a opinion price published in The Washington Post in March, McCabe declared he was “not clear in my responses, and because of what was going on around me may well have been confused and distracted.”
Following the referral for criminal charges, McCabe’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, told reporters the criminal referral is “unjustified” and expressed confidence McCabe will not face prosecution.
The FBI inspector general’s office is believed to release an expanded report into the matter next month and Congress is expected to hold hearings over McCabe’s dismissal.
Following the referral to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Bromwich said his client is considering a lawsuit against the Trump administration for wrongful termination and defamation. The pair are also initiating efforts to release communication records between McCabe and Comey.
[New York Times] [Reuters] [The Hill] [Axios] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via New York Post]