The Department of Justice has rejected former deputy and acting director of the FBI Andrew McCabe’s appeal to avoid indictment, and is reportedly moving forward with charges against him, according to multiple reports Thursday.
The charges are related to the previously released inspector general report regarding McCabe’s leaking and lack of candor, but does not touch on his role in the FBI’s alleged election-year surveillance abuses, as that report has not yet been released.
A source close to McCabe’s legal team said they received an email from the DOJ stating, “The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office.”
The potential charges relate to the DOJ inspector general findings against McCabe, showing that he had “lacked candor” about his involvement in a self-serving leak to the Wall Street Journal regarding an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
He became the acting director of the FBI in May 2017 after President Trump fired former director James Comey.
As deputy director, he played a central role in both the Hillary Clinton email investigation whitewash and the get-Flynn operation that resulted in getting Trump’s national security adviser fired and charged with lying to federal agents. As acting director, he also authorized an investigation into whether President Trump was acting as an agent of Russia.
McCabe spent 21 years with the Bureau before he was fired in March of 2018 due to his leaks to the media.
The IG report faulted McCabe for leaking information to then-Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett for an Oct. 30, 2016 story titled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” The story — written just days before the presidential election – focused on the FBI announcing the reopening of the Clinton investigation after finding thousands of her emails on a laptop belonging to former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner, who was married to Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
The Journal’s account of the call said a senior Justice Department official expressed displeasure to McCabe that FBI agents were still looking into the Clinton Foundation, and that McCabe had defended agent’s authority to pursue the issue.
That leak confirmed the existence of the probe, the report said, which Comey had up to that point refused to do.
The report said that McCabe “lacked candor” in a conversation with Comey when he said he had not authorized the disclosure and didn’t know who had done so. The IG also found that he also lacked candor when questioned by FBI agents on multiple occasions since that conversation.
McCabe denied the accusations and said the the Inspector General Michael Horowitz had relied on “mischaracterizations and omissions,” in his report.
He filed a lawsuit last month against the Justice Department and the FBI over his firing, which came just over 24 hours before he planned to retire.
McCabe argued in his complaint that the two officials responsible for demoting and then firing McCabe — FBI Director Chris Wray and Sessions — created a pretext to force him out in accordance with the president’s wishes.
The stated reason for the firing was that McCabe had misled investigators over his involvement in a news media leak, but McCabe says the real reason was “his refusal to pledge allegiance to a single man.”
McCabe has been attacked by the president since before he was elected after news emerged in the fall of 2016 that McCabe’s wife had accepted campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate there. McAuliffe is a close ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton, who was being investigated at the time for her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state.
Republicans on Capitol Hill reacted with cautious optimism to the news that at least one Democrat was finally going to be held accountable for alleged criminal misconduct against Trump and his campaign.
“Looks like we might be getting accountability for the Comey Cabal,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said.
“Hopefully this is merely the beginning of long overdue accountability. Justice will be done,” tweeted Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC):
Wow. Reports that a U.S. Attorney has formally recommended pursuing CRIMINAL CHARGES against former Deputy FBI Director and CNN analyst Andrew McCabe for lying to investigators.
Hopefully this is merely the beginning of long overdue accountability. Justice will be done.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) September 12, 2019
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) celebrated the news, tweeting that “McCabe was fired for good reason, violated his oath, weaponized his DOJ position & broke the law.”
Andrew McCabe was fired for good reason, violated his oath, weaponized his DOJ position & broke the law. McCabe should be indicted & tried. If convicted, he should be imprisoned. It’s time.
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) September 12, 2019
Rep John Ratcliffe (R-TX) predicted on Fox News Sunday that the decision to prosecute would be coming soon, telling “Sunday Morning Futures” host Maria Bartiromo that the DOJ would have to indict McCabe because to do otherwise would look too much like unequal treatment under the law based on politics.
“The Department of Justice has through the special counsel recently made a cottage industry out of charging people like General Flynn and George Papadopoulos for lying to investigators,” Ratcliffe noted. “Here we have the inspector general stating that Andrew McCabe did that multiple times—and the magic words—did so intentionally and knowingly. I think the Department of Justice is going to have to indict Andrew McCabe simply because to do otherwise would be to admit that there are separate standards for people doing the same things.”
If reports are accurate that the DOJ is recommending charges against former FBI Deputy Director Andy McCabe, I’m not surprised. As I told @MariaBartiromo Sunday, to do otherwise would be an admission of different legal standards applied to the same conduct for political reasons. pic.twitter.com/ebfxrtYRt4
— John Ratcliffe (@RepRatcliffe) September 12, 2019
Meanwhile, a tweet from disgraced former FBI director James Comey on Jan. 29, 2018, has not aged well at all:
Special Agent Andrew McCabe stood tall over the last 8 months, when small people were trying to tear down an institution we all depend on. He served with distinction for two decades. I wish Andy well. I also wish continued strength for the rest of the FBI. America needs you.
— James Comey (@Comey) January 30, 2018