Then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe was fired by President Donald Trump in March 2018 — just days before he was set to retire with full benefits — in the wake of sharp criticism over an inspector general report that accused him of a “lack of candor” with investigators looking into unauthorized media leaks, including one involving the Wall Street Journal.
Now, new documents have been released that reveal McCabe did indeed lie to investigators — and he even admitted to it. According to the New York Post, the documents show McCabe “apologized for lying to agents who spent weeks investigating the source of a leak to the Wall Street Journal that actually came from him.”
Lying about leaking
The revelation comes by way of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit filed against the FBI by a government watchdog group known as Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The group obtained transcripts that apparently informed the inspector general’s report on McCabe, but were not previously released to the public.
The Daily Beast was the first to report on the documents obtained by CREW, which show that McCabe was questioned on May 9, 2017, about a specific leak to the media outlet Circa.
At that point, investigators also raised the issue of a suspected leak to the Wall Street Journal, which allegedly informed an October 2016 article that revealed internal discussions among senior FBI officials about the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
At the time, the then-deputy director denied having any knowledge of the articles or who may have leaked inside information, prompting investigators to look elsewhere.
On Aug. 18, 2017, however, the investigators returned to McCabe for a second interview to try and clear up “conflicting information” they had learned over the preceding months. “I need to know from you, did you authorize this article? Were you aware of it? Did you authorize it?” an unnamed FBI agent said he asked McCabe, according to the Daily Beast.
It was at that point that the top FBI official admitted he had lied and that he had been responsible for the leak to the Journal — an admission the agent said prompted the situation to change “180 degrees.”
“I was very careful to say [to McCabe]…with all due respect, this is what you told us. This has caused us some kind of, you know, sidetracking here now with some information other people have told us,” the agent recalled, according to the Daily Beast. The investigator went on:
I said, sir, you understand that we’ve put a lot of work into this based on what you told us. I mean, and I even said, long nights and weekends working on this, trying to find out who amongst your ranks of trusted people would, would do something like that. And [McCabe] kind of just looked down, kind of nodded, and said, “Yeah, I’m sorry.”
According to McCabe’s lawyers, the former deputy FBI director was unprepared for the question and flustered amid President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
Hypocrisy and accountability
McCabe was recommended for criminal charges by the inspector general over his “lack of candor,” but he has yet to actually be charged for lying to federal investigators, much less the leaks, according to Breitbart.
“Andrew McCabe, while serving as deputy director of the FBI, lied to the FBI. Then he lied about lying,” an unnamed White House official told Breitbart. “He has thrown thousands of men in jail for lying to federal investigators. This hypocrisy cannot go unpunished.”