Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is now facing possible criminal charges for lying under oath about leaks he made to The Wall Street Journal in 2016, in an effort to salvage his reputation and give his account to journalists who were questioning whether he gave a “stand-down” order to FBI agents investigating the Clinton Foundation.
Multiple former FBI officials, along with a Congressional official, say that while there may have been internal squabbling over the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation at the time, there was allegedly another “stand-down” order by McCabe regarding the opening of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email for official government business.
McCabe’s stand-down order regarding Clinton’s private email use happened after The New York Times first reported Hillary Clinton Used Personal Email Account at State Dept., Possibly Breaking Rules in March 2015 and before the official investigation was requested by the Justice Department toward the end of July 2015.
“McCabe tried to steer people off the private email investigation…”
After The New York Times publication, the FBI Washington Field Office began investigating Clinton’s use of private emails and whether she was using her personal email account to transmit classified information. According to sources, McCabe was overseas when he became aware of the investigation and sent electronic communications voicing his displeasure with the agents.
“McCabe tried to steer people off the private email investigation and that appears to be obstruction and should be investigated,” said one former FBI official with knowledge of the circumstances surrounding the investigation. “Now if the information on the ‘stand-down’ order is obtained by the IG that could bring a whole lot of other troubles to McCabe.”
Inspector General Michael Horowitz released the report on McCabe earlier this month and is continuing to investigate the FBI’s role in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server to conduct government business. Horowitz’s team of investigators have been sifting through more than 1.2 million documents, of which 46,000 are connected to the ongoing investigations, according to several Congressional officials who spoke to this reporter. Of those documents, Congress has received a tiny fraction of the emails pertaining to their oversight investigations.
The body of documents obtained by the Inspector General also include all of McCabe’s communications, congressional officials said.
Judicial Watch, a conservative government watchdog group, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in September 2017 against the FBI for the communications on behalf of retired FBI Supervisory Special Agent Jeff Danik, as previously reported. Danik spent more than 28 years with the bureau as a supervisor in the counter-terrorism division and special overseas advisor. Thus far, the FBI has failed to abide by a judge’s order to turn over all of former McCabe’s text messages, emails and SMS phone messages.
The DOJ declined to comment on whether McCabe had given a “stand-down” order in either or both investigations into Clinton. The Inspector General, which is expected to issue its second report in May on the FBI’s investigation into Clinton’s use of a private server for government business, does not comment on ongoing investigations.
FBI spokeswoman Carol Cratty declined to comment.
McCabe’s troubles began after the Wall Street Journal first published a story regarding his wife, Jill McCabe, a Democrat, who had an unsuccessful run in a 2015 Virginia State Senate race. According to campaign finance reports obtained by The Wall Street Journal, she received roughly $700,000 from political super PACs connected to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close ally and personal friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
McCabe, however, was closely involved in the investigations into the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton email server. Members of Congress began questioning McCabe’s possible conflicts of interest, whether or not he had properly disclosed his wife’s campaign funds and if he should have recused himself from the Clinton investigations.
It is later, in a follow-up article by Wall Street Journal author Devlin Barrett, Internal Feud over Hillary Clinton Probe, that Barrett refers to a possible “stand-down” order given by McCabe to FBI agents regarding their ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation. At the time, no-one, including former FBI Director James Comey had officially confirmed the investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe, in an effort to salvage his reputation and rebut the claims against him before the story came out on Oct. 30, 2016, authorized a leak of a phone conversation he had with the Department of Justice in which he claims he pushed back against the DOJ, which he says was fighting against the Bureau’s investigation.
According to Horowitz’s report on McCabe, Barrett’s “article discussed not only the FBI’s handling of the Clinton E-mail Investigation but ‘internal disagreements within the Bureau and the Justice Department surrounding the Clintons’ family philanthropy.'” It stated that “McCabe, in particular, was caught . . . [in] an increasingly acrimonious fight for control between the Justice Department and FBI agents pursuing the Clinton Foundation case.”
The former law enforcement sources who spoke to this reporter said a possible stand-down order on the Clinton Foundation investigation doesn’t preclude another stand-down order from McCabe on the Clinton email server investigation. They noted that it appears from the IG’s report that the Justice Department was attempting to dissuade McCabe from moving forward with the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation. McCabe said he authorized the disclosure to The Wall Street Journal of his conversation with the DOJ’s Principal Assistant Attorney General (PADAG) in an effort to counter the narrative that he had given a stand-down order on the Bureau’s Clinton Foundation investigation.
Horowitz’s referral on McCabe is the second referral seeking criminal prosecution of McCabe. The first referral was sent this week by Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fl, and ten other lawmakers asking for the investigation based on McCabe’s false testimony to investigators.
The evidence collected by Horowitz has raised new questions with Congressional investigators regarding McCabe’s role in the Bureau’s investigations into Clinton and what role President Obama’s Department of Justice may have had in both investigations.