The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General report on Andrew McCabe, the former top FBI official who President Trump fired last month, was obtained and published by the New York Times on Friday, shortly after it was transmitted to Congress.
The Inspector General concluded that on four separate occasions, McCabe lacked candor in explaining his role in an October 30 Wall Street Journal story about internal Justice Department disagreements about its Hillary Clinton investigations.
“While the disclosure may have served McCabe’s personal interests in seeking to rebut the WSJ article on October 23 and to avoid another personally damaging WSJ story on October 30, it did so at the expense of undermining public confidence in the Department as a whole,” the Inspector General’s report said.
Three of those four occasions involved testimony under oath, the IG’s report said.
A major disagreement highlighted in the report is whether McCabe made then-FBI Director James Comey aware that he had authorized a top FBI official to participate in the story, which confirmed that there was an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
McCabe said he told Comey after the story was published that he had OKed the disclosure, which was in his authority as the deputy director. Comey had told the IG investigators that McCabe did not inform Comey that he had greenlit the leak. The IG report — citing other evidence that backed Comey’s account — sided with Comey’s retelling of that conversation.
Before firing McCabe, Trump had zeroed in on contributions a political group aligned with then-Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) made to McCabe’s wife’s unsuccessful campaign for state senator in 2015. McCabe’s termination as Deputy FBI Director — just hours before he would have been eligible for the bureau’s full retirement package — came as Trump was escalating his war on the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
The official rationale for the termination of McCabe from the Justice Department was that McCabe misled IG’s investigators probing the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email inquiry. McCabe has denied allegations that he misled the IG.
In a statement Friday, McCabe’s lawyer Michael Bromwich said Comey’s own description of his conversation with McCabe about about the WSJ story — on which two of the four lack of candor conclusions are based — is that his recollection was uncertain.
“[McCabe’s] treatment was far more harsh and far less fair than he deserved, and his reward for the loyalty he showed to his country over the course of his career was a truncated form of administrative due process, including the lack of any right to appeal outside the Department of Justice (DOJ),” Bromwich, a former DOJ IG, said.
“The rush to fire McCabe late on a Friday night, just hours before he was to retire, casts a tremendous shadow over the integrity of this process,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “There’s really no way to look at McCabe’s firing other than overtly political.”
Read the full report below: