Andrew McCabe Violated FBI Policies, Justice Department Watchdog Finds

Fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe violated FBI policies in the way he once disclosed an ongoing investigation to a news outlet and later how he described that disclosure to authorities, the internal Department of Justice watchdog revealed in a report to Congress on Friday.

“The [Office of the Inspector General] found that then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lacked candor, including under oath, on multiple occasions in connection with describing his role in connection with a disclosure to [The Wall Street Journal ],” the report said, adding that the conduct violated FBI policies. “The OIG also concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.”

As of Friday evening, the Justice Department did not appear to have publicly released the report. Multiple news outlets published the report, dated February 2018.

The Justice Department inspector general launched its review of the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email server while secretary of state, in January 2017. The mandate of the review included whether former FBI Director James Comey’s public disclosures about the investigation were appropriate, and whether McCabe should have recused himself because of an alleged conflict of interest.

The review drew attention late last year, when it was revealed that special counsel Robert Mueller had removed an investigator from his team because of text messages critical of President Donald Trump. The inspector general review uncovered those messages.

04_13_McCabe_inspector_general On April 13, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released a report about misconduct by fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, pictured here during a House Appropriations subcommittee meeting on June 21. Pete Marovich/Getty

McCabe, who served as acting FBI director following Trump’s firing of Comey, had become a target of President Donald Trump and his allies who claimed he held a pro-Clinton bias. He stepped down as deputy director in January, but he remained with the bureau awaiting a formal retirement in March. Twenty-six hours before McCabe’s planned retirement, Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired him. To critics of the president, the allegations against McCabe and others in the FBI and Justice Department have seemed like attempts to discredit the agency as the special counsel investigation into Russia’s election meddling and possible coordination with the Trump campaign advances.

On Friday, Trump and his allies celebrated the report, even before its public release. “DOJ just issued the McCabe report - which is a total disaster,” Trump tweeted. “He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey - McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”

Michael Bromwich, who served as Justice Department inspector general under former President Bill Clinton, and who is now representing McCabe, responded in a tweet to Trump, “Thank you for providing even more material for the defamation suit we are actively considering filing against you and your colleagues. Stay tuned.”

A spokesperson for Bromwich and McCabe said in a statement that they had been considering filing civil lawsuits against Trump and administration officials alleging wrongful termination, defamation and constitutional violations. The spokesperson said they enlisted the help of the law firm Boies Schiller.

“During the course of his 21-year career, Mr. McCabe stepped up to accept every challenge the FBI and this country presented," Bromwich said in a fuller statement about the report. "He served this country with courage and distinction in a series of difficult and important assignments, including as acting director after the president’s summary dismissal of Director Comey.”

“Instead of conveying the thanks of a grateful nation, the president and the White House chose to subject Mr. McCabe to repeated ad hominem attacks, before and after his termination," Bromwich continued. "In the full context of this case, the termination of Mr. McCabe was completely unjustified. And the rush to fire him, at the goading of the president, was unworthy of the great traditions of the Department of Justice.”

The 39-page report comes days before the release of Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty. Meanwhile, McCabe recenty raised more than $500,000 for what he anticipates will be legal fees.

Besides the inspector general review, multiple congressional committees have launched their own reviews of the FBI under Comey. Trump and other Republicans have called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the issue. But the Justice Department had pointed out that the inspector general was already reviewing the matter.

Friday’s report said it is now up to the FBI to take “such action that it deems to be appropriate.”

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