These past few days saw a significant advance in our efforts to plumb the depths of what was going on at the top of the FBI during the late stages of the Obama administration and during the early days of the Trump administration.
The advance includes three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking records for FBI Acting Director Andrew McCabe relating to his political activities, travel vouchers, and employment status. The first two lawsuits specifically seek records of McCabe’s political activities involving his wife’s failed campaign for political office and interactions with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
The first FOIA lawsuit, filed on July 24 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01494)), seeks the following:
- Any and all records of communication between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other FBI or Department of Justice (“DOJ”) officials regarding, concerning, or relating to ethical issues concerning the involvement of Andrew McCabe and/or his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, in political campaigns;
- Any and all records related to ethical guidance concerning political activities provided to Deputy Director McCabe by FBI and/or DOJ officials or elements.
The second Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit, filed on July 26, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01495)) seeks communication records between then-Deputy Director McCabe and Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and the Democratic Party of Virginia, including:
- Any and all records of communication between Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and any of the following individuals:
- Any official within the office of the Governor of Virginia, including but not limited to Governor Terry McAuliffe;
- Any official, representative or employee with the Democratic National Committee; and
- Any official, representative or employee with the Democratic Party of Virginia.
In 2015, a political action committee run by McAuliffe, a close friend and political supporter of Bill and Hillary Clinton, donated nearly $500,000 to Jill McCabe, wife of McCabe, who was then running for the Virginia State Senate. Also, the Virginia Democratic Party, over which McAuliffe had significant influence, donated an additional $207,788 to the Jill McCabe campaign. In July 2015, Andrew McCabe was in charge of the FBI’s Washington, DC, field office, which provided personnel resources to the Clinton email probe. McAuliffe himself was (and still may be) under FBI investigation as well.
The Hatch Act prohibits FBI employees from engaging “in political activity in concert with a political party, a candidate for partisan political office, or a partisan political group.”
The third FOIA lawsuit filed last week came on July 26 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01493) for:
- Any and all Standard Forms 50 and 52 (i.e., SF-50s and SF-52s) for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all requests for approvals of travel submitted by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all travel vouchers and accompanying receipts and related documentation submitted by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all calendar entries for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
These are all basic requests about the acting FBI director. The cover-up of the records is a good indication that both the FBI and its parent the Justice Department are out-of-control.
There are numerous questions about the ethics and judgement of the FBI’s top leadership, particularly Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe. These new lawsuits will help Americans “watch the watchers” at the powerful FBI.