The Department of Justice inspector general released a report to Congress Friday accusing former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe of misleading investigators who were trying to determine his role in a 2016 media leak.
The report asserts that, despite his insistence to the contrary, McCabe did personally approve an October 2016 media disclosure in order “to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership.”
McCabe repeatedly said that he did not approve the disclosure, and was unaware who did, during interviews with FBI agents as well as investigators from the inspector general’s office. But according to the report, he authorized the disclosure to rebut the notion that partisan bias affected the DOJ’s investigation of a possible pay-for-play scheme run by then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton through her family charity, the Clinton Foundation.
The Wall Street Journal report that resulted from the leak indicated the DOJ, led by then-attorney general Loretta Lynch, constrained the FBI’s efforts to move forward with the investigation.
Investigators also found that McCabe’s account of his dealings with then-FBI director James Comey differed from Comey’s account. McCabe claims he told Comey he authorized the leak in an October 30 conversation and Comey “did not react negatively.” Comey maintains McCabe did not disclose his role in authorizing the leak, which he claims he found “problematic” because it demonstrated the existence of the previously-undisclosed Clinton Foundation investigation.
McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March for “lacking candor” in his responses to investigators’ questions about the leak. The move came just hours before his scheduled retirement, potentially depriving him of the pension he earned over his 21-year career.
In a statement released after his dismissal, McCabe said he was within his rights to authorize the media disclosure, and maintained that any confusion he may have caused investigators was unintentional and the result of the chaotic atmosphere that characterized the FBI at the time.
McCabe, as well as many Democratic lawmakers, further suggested that his firing was a politically motivated attempt to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, and to discredit him in the event he was called to testify to the circumstances surrounding Comey’s firing.