The Justice Department rejected former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s appeal to avoid criminal charges for lying to federal agents.
“The Department rejected your appeal of the United States Attorney’s Office’s decision in this matter. Any further inquiries should be directed to the United States Attorney’s Office,” said an email sent to McCabe’s attorneys, a source close to McCabe’s legal team told the Washington Examiner.
Last month McCabe’s lawyers met with Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie Liu, indicating federal prosecutors were close to making a final decision on whether to indict McCabe.
Liu has now recommended moving forward with charges, according to Fox News.
The Justice Department did not immediately return a request for comment. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia declined to comment.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe in March 2018, less than two days before he was set to retire, prompted by a Justice Department inspector general report that found he misled former FBI Director James Comey and investigators about leaks to the media regarding the Hillary Clinton emails investigation and an inquiry into the Clinton Foundation which had not yet been made public.
Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s February 2018 report concluded that McCabe had improperly authorized his subordinates to confirm the existence of an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation to the Wall Street Journal as part of an effort by McCabe to push back against claims that he was unfairly favorable toward Clinton. Comey, whom Trump fired in May 2017, says he did not give McCabe permission to leak that information to the media. Up to that point, Comey had refused to acknowledge the existence of the Clinton-related investigation publicly, and Horowitz recounted how McCabe lacked candor multiple times when he denied authorizing the disclosure when speaking with Comey, with FBI investigators, and with the inspector general’s office.
Comey has yet to comment on the latest developments in the McCabe investigation.
Horowitz concluded that “the evidence is substantial” that McCabe misled investigators “knowingly and intentionally,” and he wrote that McCabe violated FBI Offense Code 2.6, which relates to lack of candor while under oath. Horowitz forwarded his report to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility to make a recommendation to Sessions about how to punish McCabe.
Sessions fired McCabe the month after Horowitz’s investigation concluded, stating that McCabe “made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
McCabe’s lawyers have called the inspector general’s report “deeply flawed,” and McCabe, who was hired by CNN last month, sued the Justice Department, accusing Trump of forcing his subordinates to participate in an “unconstitutional plan and scheme” to have him fired. McCabe accused Sessions, along with Wray and others, of serving as Trump’s “personal enforcers” rather than “the nation’s highest law enforcement officials” and of catering to Trump’s “unlawful whims” instead of “honoring their oaths to uphold the Constitution.” He is demanding back pay, his full pension, and for his record to be expunged.
McCabe is also likely being scrutinized by Horowitz as part of his investigation of allegations of abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The surveillance warrant applications targeting Trump associate Carter Page required the approval of top members of the FBI and DOJ. Former FBI Deputy General Counsel Trisha Anderson testified to Congress last year that McCabe and then-Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates approved the application before it got to her desk, an unusual process that led her to not second-guess her higher-ups.