Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, while testifying before a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Ever since former FBI deputy director and James Comey henchman, Andrew McCabe was fired, he’s been singing the same song: He’s the victim of a political vendetta and everything he did was completely authorized and approved of by Comey and Department of Justice.
The investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has to be understood in the context of the attacks on my credibility. The investigation flows from my attempt to explain the FBI’s involvement and my supervision of investigations involving Hillary Clinton. I was being portrayed in the media over and over as a political partisan, accused of closing down investigations under political pressure. The FBI was portrayed as caving under that pressure, and making decisions for political rather than law enforcement purposes. Nothing was further from the truth. In fact, this entire investigation stems from my efforts, fully authorized under FBI rules, to set the record straight on behalf of the Bureau, and to make clear that we were continuing an investigation that people in DOJ opposed.
The OIG investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that. It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week. In fact, it was the same type of work that I continued to do under Director Wray, at his request. The investigation subsequently focused on who I talked to, when I talked to them, and so forth. During these inquiries, I answered questions truthfully and as accurately as I could amidst the chaos that surrounded me. And when I thought my answers were misunderstood, I contacted investigators to correct them.
But looking at that in isolation completely misses the big picture. The big picture is a tale of what can happen when law enforcement is politicized, public servants are attacked, and people who are supposed to cherish and protect our institutions become instruments for damaging those institutions and people.
Here is the reality: I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey. The release of this report was accelerated only after my testimony to the House Intelligence Committee revealed that I would corroborate former Director Comey’s accounts of his discussions with the President. The OIG’s focus on me and this report became a part of an unprecedented effort by the Administration, driven by the President himself, to remove me from my position, destroy my reputation, and possibly strip me of a pension that I worked 21 years to earn. The accelerated release of the report, and the punitive actions taken in response, make sense only when viewed through this lens. Thursday’s comments from the White House are just the latest example of this.
This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals more generally. It is part of this Administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the Special Counsel investigation, which continue to this day. Their persistence in this campaign only highlights the importance of the Special Counsel’s work.
A PR firm created a GoFundMe campaign for his legal defense fund that raised over $500,000. Today, the long-anticipated DOJ IG report that resulted in McCabe’s firing was released, and some of those donors should ask for their money back. The New York Times headline is Former F.B.I. Deputy Director Is Faulted in Scathing Inspector General Report.
The inspector general said that when investigators asked whether he had instructed aides to provide information in October 2016 to a reporter with The Wall Street Journal, Mr. McCabe said he did not authorize the disclosure and did not know who did.
But Mr. McCabe did approve the F.B.I.’s contact with the reporter, according to the review.
The newspaper article delved into a dispute between F.B.I. and Justice Department officials over how to proceed in an investigation into the financial dealings of the Clinton family’s foundation. It revealed a sensitive meeting during which Justice Department officials declined to authorize subpoenas or grand jury activity.
The inspector general also concluded that Mr. McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of the ongoing investigation in the manner described in the report violated media policy of the F.B.I. and Justice Department and constituted misconduct.
To say that sugar coats it is an extreme understatement. Let’s go to the full IG report. This is the background:
This misconduct report addresses the accuracy of statements made by then Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Deputy Director Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) and the Department of Justice (Department or DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) concerning the disclosure of certain law enforcement sensitive information to reporter Devlin Barrett that was published online in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on October 30, 2016, in an article entitled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” A print version of the article was published in the WSJ on Monday, October 31, 2016, in an article entitled “FBI, Justice Feud in Clinton Probe.”
This investigation was initially opened by INSD to determine whether the information published by the WSJ in the October 30 article was an unauthorized leak and, if so, who was the source of the leak. On August 31, 2017, the OIG opened an investigation of McCabe following INSD’s referral of its matter to the OIG after INSD became concerned that McCabe may have lacked candor when questioned by INSD agents about his role in the disclosure to the WSJ. Shortly before that INSD referral, as part of its ongoing Review of Allegations Regarding Various Actions by the Department and the FBI in Advance of the 2016 Election, the OIG identified FBI text messages by McCabe’s then-Special Counsel (“Special Counsel”) that reflected that she and the then-Assistant Director for Public Affairs (“AD/OPA”) had been in contact with Barrett on October 27 and 28, 2016, and the OIG began to review the involvement of McCabe, Special Counsel, and AD/OPA in the disclosure of information to the WSJ in connection with the October 30 article.
In addition to addressing whether McCabe lacked candor, the OIG’s misconduct investigation addressed whether any FBI or Department of Justice policies were violated in disclosing non-public FBI information to the WSJ.
They find that McCabe lied at least four times but the summary really caps off everything:
Lastly, we determined that as Deputy Director, McCabe was authorized to disclose the existence of the CF Investigation publicly if such a disclosure fell within the “public interest” exception in applicable FBI and DOJ policies generally prohibiting such a disclosure of an ongoing investigation. 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. We therefore concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in this manner violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.
He leaked to make himself look good. He lied about it. There is no deep political conspiracy there. Just McCabe being McCabe.
On page 11 of DOJ IG report, we learn that McCabe scolded two FBI officials for leaks in an October 30 WSJ story. McCabe was responsible for leaks in the same story.
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) April 13, 2018
That IG report on McCabe is, uh, wow. Damning and detailed. I don't care what side of the fence you're on, everyone at this point has plenty of evidence showing FBI leadership made politically sensitive investigations much worse by being dishonest and/or self-serving.
— Mark Hemingway (@Heminator) April 13, 2018
An interesting footnote here about McCabe's conversations about the OIG investigation with James Baker, the FBI general counsel who was abruptly reassigned last December. Why was McCabe discussing an ongoing investigation with a witness? pic.twitter.com/PLeqjNnXvJ
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) April 13, 2018