Federal prosecutors in Washington have for months been using a grand jury to investigate whether fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe “lacked candor” regarding an unauthorized leak, the Washington Post reported on Thursday. Witnesses have been summoned and may be required to testify if the case goes to trial, according to the report.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on March 16, after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz issued a criminal referral alleging that McCabe lied four times, including twice under oath, about authorizing the self-serving leak to the press.
“After an extensive and fair investigation and according to Department of Justice procedure, the department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) provided its report on allegations of misconduct by Andrew McCabe to the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR),” Sessions said in a statement at the time. “The FBI’s OPR then reviewed the report and underlying documents and issued a disciplinary proposal recommending the dismissal of Mr. McCabe. Both the OIG and FBI OPR reports concluded that Mr. McCabe had made an unauthorized disclosure to the news media and lacked candor — including under oath — on multiple occasions.”
The inspector general’s investigation of McCabe focused largely on interactions that he authorized other FBI officials to have with a Wall Street Journal reporter in October 2016 and what McCabe would later tell investigators about those interactions.
The reporter — Devlin Barrett, who now works at The Washington Post — was preparing a story on internal tension inside the FBI and the Justice Department over two investigations related to Hillary Clinton. McCabe, apparently concerned the story would cast him as trying to shut down one of the probes, authorized the FBI’s top spokesman and an FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, to talk with the reporter for the story.
Page has since become more well known for the anti-Trump texts she exchanged with another FBI agent. In some of those texts, which the inspector general reviewed, she mentioned her conversation with Barrett.
After he was fired, McCabe set up a GoFundMe “legal defense fund” and quickly raised over $542,000 — more than twice its goal of $250,000.
McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, accused the Trump administration of leaking the news about the grand jury.
“Unfortunately, such pressure has continued, with the president targeting Mr. McCabe in numerous additional tweets,” Bromwich said. “A leak about the investigation occurred in late May, very close in time to the news that Mr. McCabe had written memos that suggested potential criminal conduct by the president. Today’s leak about a procedural step taken more than a month ago — occurring in the midst of a disastrous week for the president — is a sad and poorly veiled attempt to try to distract the American public.”
The U.S. attorney’s office would not confirm or deny any investigations when asked on Thursday.
McCabe may be guilty of more than merely lying about leaks, according to some reports.
Back in January, investigative journalist Sara Carter reported that the former G-man may have asked FBI agents to actually change their 302 forms, which contain information from the notes an FBI agent takes during an interview of a subject. It is used by FBI agents to “report or summarize the interviews that they conduct.”
“So basically every time an FBI agent interviews a witness, they have to go back and file a report,” Carter explained.
She also reported on her own website that current and former FBI officials were telling her that there were people “lining up in the bureau to go after McCabe.”