Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe authorized a leak to the Wall Street Journal to boost his profile and then lied about it to his boss and investigators, according to a damning report by the Inspector General of the Department of Justice.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe last month based on the findings of this report and the recommendation of the FBI’s disciplinary office. Inspector General Michael Horowitz, a Barack Obama appointee, released the report to the public on April 13 (pdf).
“DOJ just issued the McCabe report – which is a total disaster,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey – McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”
McCabe authorized FBI senior attorney Lisa Page to leak to Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barret, the report states. The leak led to an Oct. 30, 2016, article in the Wall Street Journal that disclosed for the first time the existence of an investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
Page is not named in the report, which refers to her instead as “Special Counsel.” Texts between Page and top FBI official Peter Strzok show that both were involved in executing the leak.
McCabe authorized the leak at a time in 2016 when his impartiality was in question. Wall Street Journal had just reported that Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe and the Virginia Democratic Party had donated $675,000 to the state senate campaign of McCabe’s wife, Jill McCabe.
As deputy director, McCabe was authorized to disclose the existence of the Clinton Foundation (CF) investigation, but only if the disclosure was a matter of public interest.
McCabe ordered the leak to “rebut a narrative” “that questioned McCabe’s impartiality in overseeing FBI investigations involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and claimed that McCabe had ordered the termination of the CF investigation due to Department of Justice pressure,” the Inspector General’s report states.
McCabe then proceeded to lie about ordering the leak. The Inspector General found that McCabe lied to Comey once and lied under oath to investigators on three different occasions in 2017.
“However, we concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF Investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior Department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of Department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception,” the report stated.
McCabe announced that he would be stepping down from his role in January and went on leave, expecting to retire with a full pension in March. Sessions fired him days before he would become eligible for a lifetime pension.
McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, issued a statement after the report was released, arguing that the report lacks a motive for McCabe’s alleged leak and subsequent lies.
“It is undisputed that Mr. McCabe was one of three senior FBI officials authorized to share information with the media, including on sensitive investigative matters,” Bromwich said in a statement, according to Fox News. “He chose to exercise that authority in October 2016, during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the bureau, with the knowledge of Director Comey and other senior members of FBI management. His purpose was to protect the institutional reputation of the FBI against false claims, including that a sensitive investigation was being shut down for political reasons.”