Ever since former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was fired, McCabe and his Democrat supporters have maintained it was politically motivated. On Friday, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, a holdover from the Obama administration, released a long-awaited report that proves beyond doubt McCabe was fired for cause.
The 39-page report consists of four main sections:
- Introduction and Summary of Findings
- Relevant Statutes, Policies, and Practices
- Factual Findings
- Office of Inspector General (OIG) Analysis
In the introductory section, the IG explained why this investigation was initiated. The FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) initially opened an investigation to determine whether information the Wall Street Journal published in an October 30 article was an unauthorized leak and, if so, who was its source. After the INSD became concerned that McCabe might be the source, it referred the investigation to OIG on August 31, 2017.
This report shows McCabe was fired for cause based on two main findings: lack of candor and unauthorized leaking. What he told investigators may also contradict what former FBI director James Comey testified before Congress, and indicates Obama’s Justice Department pressured the FBI during its investigation of Hillary Clinton.
The Report Says This Guy Lied Three Times
With respect to lack of candor, the report listed four instances on pages 4-5 and again with more detail on pages 15-21 with dates, times, and McCabe’s own testimony, both under oath and not:
- Shortly after the WSJ article, McCabe made statements that led Comey to believe McCabe had not authorized the disclosure to a WSJ reporter and did not know who did.
- On May 9, 2017, when questioned under oath by FBI agents from INSD, McCabe told the agents that he had not authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and did not know who did.
- On July 28, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview, McCabe stated: (a) that he was not aware of FBI special counsel Lisa Page having been authorized to speak to reporters around October 30 and (b) that, because he was not in Washington DC on October 27 and 28, 2016, he was unable to say where Page was or what she was doing at that time. However, text messages between McCabe and Page revealed they maintained close contact the entire time Page was speaking to the WSJ reporter.
- November 29, 2017, when questioned under oath by the OIG in a recorded interview, McCabe contradicted his prior statements by acknowledging that he had authorized the disclosure to the WSJ and insisting that he had reported such to Comey.
During a Senate judiciary committee hearing last May, Comey told Sen. Chuck Grassley he had never authorized any other FBI staffer to anonymously leak information to the press about the FBI’s Trump or Clinton investigations. So McCabe and Comey’s testimony now appears to be inconsistent.
Pages 6-7 of the inspector general report provides the relevant statute and polices that show “lack of candor” is defined to include “false statements, misrepresentations, the failure to be fully forthright, or the concealment or omission of a material fact/information.” Based on this definition, the OIG concluded that McCabe’s conduct in all four instances above violated FBI Offense Code 2.5 (lack of candor—no oath) and FBI Offense Code 2.6 (lack of candor—under oath).
McCabe’s Conflicts of Interest While at FBI
Besides lack of candor, the IG report also finds McCabe’s leak to the WSJ was unauthorized. Details of the chain of events can be found from page 8 to page 15. Back on October 23, 2016, Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett revealed in an article that McCabe’s wife received almost $675,000 from Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton confidante, for Mrs. McCabe’s state senate run while her husband was overseeing two Hillary Clinton investigations and McAuliffe himself was under an FBI probe.
After the article published, there were public discussions on whether McCabe was the appropriate person to oversee the Clinton investigations. Eventually, under the urging of Comey and a few others, McCabe recused himself from the two Clinton investigations.
But then on October 25, 2016, after being informed that Barrett was working on a related article that might further implicate McCabe’s conflicts of interest in overseeing the Clinton investigations while his wife was receiving campaign donations from Clinton confidantes, McCabe authorized Page and another official from the Office of Public Affairs to talk to Barrett regarding the Clinton Foundation investigation and to disclose his August 12, 2016 call with the principal associate deputy attorney general (PADAG) at the Department of Justice (DOJ).
According to McCabe, the phone call with PADAG was heated. PADAG expressed concerns about FBI agents taking overt steps in the Clinton Foundation investigation during the presidential campaign. According to McCabe, he pushed back, asking, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” If we can trust McCabe’s recollection, this is another bombshell that Loretta Lynch’s DOJ tried to help the Clinton campaign by pressuring the FBI during an active investigation.
When interviewed by the OIG on November 29, 2017, McCabe stated that he authorized Page to provide Barrett the account of his August 12 call with PADAG because he thought it was the “best example” to counter the “incredibly damaging” narrative of his possible conflict of interest in Barrett’s intended story.
After Barrett published another article on October 30 based on his conversation with Page, McCabe tried to cover up the leak by faulting FBI executives from the DC and New York offices for possible leaking even though he was the leaker all along. Eventually, FBI’s Inspection Division (INSD) opened an investigation to determine whether the information the WSJ published in the October 30 article was an unauthorized leak and, if so, who was its source.
According to the FBI’s own code of conduct, FBI officials are only authorized to disclose investigations to the media under certain circumstances within the “public interest.” But the inspector general concluded in his report that “McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the (Clinton Foundation) 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… Thus, McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in the manner described in this report violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct.”
McCabe and Democrats still maintain McCabe’s firing was part of President Trump’s attack on the integrity and independence of the FBI. This latest IG report shows the real people who stained the FBI’s integrity and independence are its own leadership, including McCabe. Firing McCabe was not only justified but also necessary to keep the FBI’s reputation from further damage.