The Justice Department inspector general’s report due out within weeks reveals a big discrepancy between testimony from former FBI Director James Comey and his deputy Andrew McCabe.
McCabe has said publicly on numerous occasions that Comey knew he leaked a story about the Hillary email investigation to the press and approved of it. Comey says he doesn’t recall McCabe ever discussing leaks with him.
The discrepancy is important because the Office of Professional Responsibility cited it in its report that led to McCabe’s firing.
Comey’s comments to the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office, which were later included as part of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility report on McCabe that prompted his firing earlier this month, put him at odds with the statements McCabe has made about authorizing FBI officials to provide information to the Wall Street Journal in an October 2016 story about FBI and Justice Department tensions over an ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
McCabe has publicly maintained that he was in a position to authorize the other FBI officials speaking with the reporter and that Comey was aware McCabe had done it.
“It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including the Director, were aware of the interaction with the reporter,” McCabe said in a statement the night he was fired.
Another source familiar with the matter argued that the discrepancy between the two accounts is more about the fact that they are recalling the interaction differently than a dispute about what took place, saying both were acting in “good faith.”
“They recall it differently,” the source said. “Andy thinks in good faith he told him, and Comey in good faith says he wasn’t told.”
It’s nice that CNN found a “source” who interpreted McCabe’s testimony so kindly. Most of the rest of us would disagree.
McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, accused lawmakers of “attempting to selectively and unfairly leak pieces of information from a report that is not public.”
“One thing is clear: Mr. McCabe never misled Director Comey,” Bromwich said. “Director Comey’s memory of these interactions was equivocal and speculative, while Mr. McCabe’s recollection is clear, unequivocal and supported by documentary evidence. Director Comey has no specific recollection of what Mr. McCabe told him, while Mr. McCabe remembers the two discussed the article before and after its publication.”
Bromwich added that emails exchanged between McCabe and Comey show that McCabe “advised Director Comey that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies before the stories were published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the interactions with the reporter continued. In short, the evidence falls far short of proving a ‘lack of candor.'”
We have yet to see any “documentary evidence” that McCabe had Comey’s blessing to leak details of the investigation and you would think if the IG had such evidence, the OPR would not have recommended firing McCabe.
The bottom line here is that some Trump staffers are going to jail for lying to the FBI while McCabe is getting a pass — probably. We’ll have to wait for the report to be released, but you have to wonder what else is in that report that so sullied McCabe’s name and reputation that the OPR would recommend firing him with just weeks to go before he was eligible for his pension.