According to a report obtained by The Hill, The DOJ’s inspector general concluded that fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe made a leak to the media that was “designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.”
The report from IG Michael Horowitz makes the case that McCabe authorized disclosures to the media that were designed to combat the perception that he had a conflict of interest in overseeing dual FBI investigations related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Horowitz wrote, “We concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the [Clinton Foundation] Investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior Department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception.”
McCabe has disputed the charges as politically motivated. On Friday, his attorney immediately responded that the report “utterly failed to support the decision to terminate Mr. McCabe.”
Michael Bromwich, McCabe’s attorney, also criticized the process by which he was terminated. He claimed that it was “unprecedented, unseemly, and cruel.”
The press disclosures in question were made to Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett shortly after he wrote a story. It detailed political donations from former Virginia governor and Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe to the failed state Senate campaign of McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe.
In response, McCabe authorized two officials to discuss with Barrett “issues related to the FBI’s Clinton Foundation investigation.”
According to the Horowitz report, the disclosures were in part designed “to rebut a narrative that … questioned McCabe’s impartiality in overseeing FBI investigations involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and claimed that McCabe had ordered the termination of the [Clinton Foundation] Investigation due to Department of Justice pressure.”
The report states that the disclosure to Barret “effectively confirmed the existence” of the Clinton Foundation investigation, which was something then-director James Comey was at that point refusing to do.
After the story was released, the report states that McCabe led Comey to believe that he had not authorized the disclosures that lead to Barrett’s story and did not know who did.
He allegedly made the same statement to internal investigators when questioned under oath months later.
The main finding in the report — lack of candor related to the Wall Street Journal disclosures — was already publicly known. It went on to flesh out further details.
It reveals that McCabe, just days before the election, recused himself from both the Clinton Foundation investigation and the investigation into Clinton’s private email server, which had been effectively reopened just days before.
In a separate letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Horowitz also reveals that his investigation into McCabe’s misconduct did not originate as part of the IG’s broader review into department decision-making during the 2016 election.
Horowitz says, however, that it arose from a referral from the FBI’s Inspection Division, an internal watchdog responsible for maintaining the integrity of its investigations.
McCabe was dismissed by Attorney General Sessions in March after the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility found that the 20-year veteran made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and “lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
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Credit: The Hill