New records from the Justice Department watchdog’s investigation into Andrew McCabe point to a possible criminal prosecution of the fired FBI deputy director.
The dozens of pages of previously secret documents detail the FBI’s internal inquiry into the bureau’s then-No. 2, including a discussion in which McCabe denied being the source of a leak about former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a follow-up meeting where he reversed himself and admitted he’d greenlighted the disclosure.
The records were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a left-leaning watchdog group that has been fighting in court for access to the DOJ and FBI documents connected to McCabe’s firing.
DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz released a report detailing multiple instances where McCabe “lacked candor” with FBI Director James Comey, FBI investigators, and inspector general investigators about his authorization to leak to the Wall Street Journal sensitive information revealing the existence of an FBI investigation into Clinton’s emails and the Clinton Foundation.
Comey said he did not permit McCabe to tell the media, and Horowitz wrote that McCabe’s actions were “designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership” and that “McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in this manner violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.”
McCabe was fired and is suing the DOJ for wrongful termination, seeking to regain his job and back pay, claiming President Trump was behind the firing.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in D.C. is weighing criminal charges against McCabe stemming from Horowitz’s report, and DOJ denied his September appeal to avoid criminal charges. Though federal prosecutors recommended charging him, it does not appear a grand jury has returned an indictment.
McCabe’s lawyers have expressed frustration with the DOJ, denying McCabe did anything wrong and saying, “this investigation has been fatally flawed from its inception.” McCabe said he would “absolutely not” accept a plea deal.