Justice Department Watchdog Faults McCabe for Lack of Candor

(Bloomberg) -- Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe lacked candor on four different occasions regarding his role in providing information to a news reporter about the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation, according to a Justice Department inspector general’s report.

President Donald Trump quickly seized on the report, saying of McCabe in a tweet: “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!”

The inspector general also found that McCabe didn’t inform then-FBI Director James Comey that he had authorized disclosure of the information to a Wall Street Journal reporter.

The inspector general “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," according to a copy of the report.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe last month over the allegations -- two days before he was set to retire and qualify for his full government pension.

“The rush to termination was nothing short of extraordinary,” Michael Bromwich, McCabe’s lawyer, said in a statement Friday. He said McCabe was a senior official who had authority to share information with reporters and that Comey was aware of his deputy’s activities.

McCabe responded when he was fired with a combative statement saying he was the target of a political attack by Trump and that he has knowledge of events that took place after Trump fired Comey in May.

House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy said in a statement that “this report continues to call into question decisions made by FBI leadership in 2016 and 2017."

“The Inspector General found not only did McCabe divulge sensitive information, he did it without the permission, authority, or knowledge of his supervisor,” said Gowdy, a South Carolina Republican.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said, “House Republicans will almost certainly try to use this report to fuel their efforts to distract from the abuses of power by this administration and to undermine the Department of Justice” even though it has nothing to do with the Russia investigation led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and supervised by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

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The report on McCabe is part of a larger investigation that the inspector general is doing into decisions and activities within the Justice Department and FBI before the 2016 election.

Separately, the inspector general sent a letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee saying that the full report is expected to be issued in May. The office had previously said the report would be released in April.

The broader report coming from the inspector general is expected to address a number of politically sensitive issues, including how the FBI handled its investigation into Democrat Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state and the early stages of the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump or any of his associates helped Russia interfere in the 2016 election.

Republican critics have already seized on revelations that two FBI officials who worked on the Russia investigation, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, exchanged text messages that were sharply critical of Trump.

But the agents also criticized Clinton in their texts, and it’s unclear whether their work was swayed by their personal views. Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia inquiry after the texts were discovered, and Page had already left his team.

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