Michael Bromwich, an attorney now representing former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) deputy director Andrew McCabe, wrote a January 2017 op-ed for the Washington Post that called the internal investigation of McCabe “welcome news.”
McCabe was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday after the FBI’s ethics office recommended McCabe’s termination following a report from the Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) detailing alleged improper behavior by McCabe. The report from the DOJ IG has not yet been made public.
“The announcement by the Justice Department’s inspector general that his office will look into FBI Director James B. Comey’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails reopens painful questions about the 2016 election, but it is also welcome news,” Bromwich wrote in the Washington Post on January 14, 2017. “The investigation will address allegations that Comey violated established Justice Department and FBI policies and procedures in his July 5, 2016, public announcement concerning the Hillary Clinton email investigation. And it will explore allegations that Comey’s Oct. 28 and Nov. 6 letters to Congress, which jolted the presidential election — and may have changed its outcome — were improper.”
Bromwich, who released a statement on McCabe’s behalf following McCabe’s firing, wrote in the 2017 op-ed that it was essential to understand what exactly was going on inside the FBI during the 2016 election and to hold people accountable for any improper behavior unearthed by the investigation.
“The impact of Comey’s actions can never be definitively known,” he wrote. “But it is important, for the Justice Department and for the country, to obtain a detailed accounting of what happened and why; to assign blame where it is warranted; and to understand how similar situations can be prevented.”
Bromwich also specifically targeted McCabe in his op-ed, noting that the internal Department of Justice investigation would seek to determine whether McCabe, whose wife received hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Hillary Clinton-connected donors, should have recused himself from the investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified information as Secretary of State.
“In addition to looking into the actions of the FBI director regarding the email investigation, the probe will look into whether the FBI’s deputy director should have recused himself from the investigation because of his wife’s political involvement; whether a high-ranking Justice Department official or others improperly disclosed non-public information to both the Clinton and Trump campaigns; and whether the timing of the FBI’s election eve Freedom of Information Act disclosures relating to Bill Clinton’s 2001 pardon of Marc Rich was based on inappropriate considerations,” Bromwich wrote.
In a statement released to the media late Friday, Bromwich’s tone was markedly different compared to what he wrote about the DOJ IG’s investigation in early 2017.
“The result of this deplorable rush to judgment is to terminate Mr. McCabe and his long-anticipated retirement and deny him of the full pension and retirement benefits he would have otherwise earned through his 21 years of devoted service to the FBI and his country,” Bromwich asserted in his statement defending McCabe. “This is simply not the way such matters are generally handled in the DOJ or the FBI.”
Sessions, who made the ultimate decision to terminate McCabe’s employment after a lengthy internal investigation by Michael Horowitz–the DOJ inspector general who was appointed to the position in 2012 by President Barack Obama–defended the FBI ethics office’s recommendation to fire McCabe. That office is run by Candice Will, a career official who was originally appointed to her position by Robert Mueller in 2004.
“Both the [Inspector General] and FBI [Office of Professional Responsibility] reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor − including under oath − on multiple occasions,” the attorney general said in a prepared statement. “The FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability. As the OPR proposal stated, ‘all FBI employees know that lacking candor under oath results in dismissal and that our integrity is our brand.’”
“Pursuant to Department Order 1202, and based on the report of the Inspector General, the findings of the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility, and the recommendation of the Department’s senior career official, I have terminated the employment of Andrew McCabe effective immediately,” Sessions concluded.
Bromwhich, the attorney for McCabe, reportedly served as DOJ’s inspector general from 1994 through 1999.