Justice Dept. Watchdog Sends Criminal Referral on McCabe to Top Washington Prosecutor

April 20, 2018 Updated: April 20, 2018

The inspector general of the Justice Department has referred the finding that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to investigators to the top prosecutor in Washington, who will determine whether to file criminal charges.

McCabe’s attorney, Michael Bromwich, confirmed the referral.

“We were advised of the referral within the past few weeks,” Bromwich told Washington Examiner. “Although we believe the referral is unjustified, the standard for an IG referral is very low.”

The investigator general, Michael Horowitz, sent the referral based on findings publicized in a recent report that McCabe leaked information to the press to boost himself and then lied about it to his boss and investigators. McCabe “lacked candor” on four different occasions, three of them under oath, the report stated.

Lying to federal investigators is punishable by up to five years in prison.

“We have already met with staff members from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Bromwich said. “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.”

Investigators looking into the handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe interviewed McCabe about a 2016 leak to the Wall Street Journal. McCabe told the investigators that he did not authorize the leak, which the investigators found to be false. McCabe also lied about the leak to his boss at the time, James Comey.

Comey told CNN on Thursday that he could potentially be a witness should there be a trial of McCabe.

“Sure, given that the [inspector general’s] report reflects interactions that Andy McCabe had with me and other FBI senior executives, I could well be a witness,” Comey told CNN. “I like him very much as a person, but sometimes even good people do things they shouldn’t do.”

Comey also told ABC that he ordered the probe that led to McCabe’s firing and that he believes the findings of the inspector general’s report.

“The McCabe case illustrates what an organization that’s committed to the truth looks like. We investigated—I ordered that investigation. We investigate and hold people accountable,” Comey told ABC. “I still believe Andrew McCabe is a good person, but the inspector general found that he lied, and there are severe consequences in the Justice Department for lying as there should be throughout the government.”

McCabe’s attorney fired back at Comey on Wednesday.

“Comey has relied on the accuracy and the soundness of the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) conclusions in their report on Mr. McCabe. In fact, the report fails to adequately address the evidence (including sworn testimony) and documents that prove that Mr. McCabe advised Director Comey repeatedly that he was working with the Wall Street Journal on the stories in question prior to publication,” Bromwich told Washington Examiner.

President Donald Trump tweeted about McCabe and Comey on Friday.

McCabe was fired from the FBI based on the findings of the inspector general’s report. He was one day away from retiring on a full pension.

On Wednesday, 11 congressmen urged the FBI and DOJ to launch a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton, Loretta Lynch, Comey, McCabe, and four other top officials.


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