An investigation by the Department of Justice (DOJ) into whether disgraced FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe made false statements during an internal inquiry into news media leaks is in its “final stages,” according to a report.
DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz last year referred for investigation and possible prosecution allegations that McCabe lied under oath when questioned about the source of information in a 2016 Wall Street Journal story about an FBI inquiry into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe has acknowledged that he permitted subordinates to speak to the reporter to correct what he said was a false narrative, but he has denied that he lied to investigators. Horowitz’s report formed the basis of a recommendation by the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility for then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to fire McCabe in March 2018.
According to the New York Times, McCabe’s legal team recently met with senior DOJ officials to discuss the investigation in what may have been a last-ditch attempt to sway authorities from bringing charges against the longtime Deep Stater:
In two meetings last week, Mr. McCabe’s lawyers met with the deputy attorney general, Jeffrey A. Rosen, who is expected to be involved in the decision about whether to prosecute, and for more than an hour with the United States attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, according to a person familiar with the meetings. The person would not detail the discussions, but defense lawyers typically meet with top law enforcement officials to try to persuade them not to indict their client if they failed to get line prosecutors to drop the case.
However, as the Times notes, the sit-downs between McCabe’s lawyers and federal authorities signal that prosecutors appear “intent on moving forward with the case,” though they could ultimately rule against prosecution.
Notably, the probe into McCabe has ensnared his former boss, fired FBI Director James Comey. He met with the DOJ to discuss the matter, which according to the Washington Post, is an indication the DOJ is “seriously considering” charges against the former FBI deputy director.
The investigation into the news media disclosure exposed a rift between McCabe and Comey.
McCabe told the inspector general’s office that he told Comey after the article was published that he had allowed the officials to share particular information and that Comey responded that it was a “good” idea to rebut a one-sided narrative. But Comey is quoted in the report as saying McCabe never told him he had approved sharing details of the call and, in fact, had left him with the opposite impression.
Asked recently about his current relationship with Comey, McCabe replied tersely, “We don’t really have a relationship now.”
Earlier this month, McCabe sued the FBI and DOJ over his termination, alleging his ouster was “legal nullity” and suggested it was politically motivated.
“It was Trump’s unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him. Plaintiff’s termination was a critical element of Trump’s plan and scheme,” McCabe’s complaint reads.
The New York Times’ report comes days after CNN announced it had hired McCabe as a contributor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.