The Justice Department’s inspector general has referred his findings on former deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe to the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C. for possible criminal charges, CNN and the Washington Post reported Thursday afternoon.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz found that McCabe misled investigators several times about his role in leaking information to the media. The inspector general sent the criminal referral to the U.S. attorney “some time ago,” according to the Washington Post.
The referral does not ensure that McCabe will face criminal charges, and it is not yet clear how the U.S. attorney’s office in D.C. responded to the referral.
McCabe’s attorney Michael R. Bromwich noted in a statement that the bar for an IG referral was “very low,” while arguing that the reported referral was nonetheless “unjustified.”
“We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Bromwich, a former DOJ inspector general himself. “We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the Administration, the US Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute.”
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General released its report on McCabe’s conduct to Congress last week. The inspector general found that McCabe lacked candor in four separate conversations with investigators about his involvement in a Wall Street Journal story about the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Three of those conversations took place under oath.
McCabe was fired from the FBI shortly before he was eligible to retire, ostensibly over his conversations with investigators about the Clinton email investigation story. McCabe disputes some of the report’s findings, and his lawyer said in a statement last week that McCabe’s “treatment was far more harsh and far less fair than he deserved.”
This story has been updated to include a statement from McCabe’s attorney