- The FBI’s top internal affairs official did not believe that the investigation of former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe could be resolved prior to his retirement, according to a memo released Tuesday.
- That assessment proved wrong, as McCabe was fired on March 16, two days before his retirement.
- The document raises questions about the decision-making process to fire McCabe. The memo noted that any disciplinary decisions against McCabe would have to be made by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
In the weeks before Andrew McCabe was fired as deputy director of the FBI, the bureau’s top internal affairs official informed FBI leaders that it was “unlikely” that a final decision would be made on whether to fire McCabe before his retirement date, March 18.
But that assessment, which was laid out in documents released by the FBI Tuesday, ended up being wrong. McCabe was unceremoniously fired two days before retirement for a “lack of candor” with investigators probing leaks that McCabe authorized to the press.
The memo, sent by Candice Will, the head of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), to FBI Director Christopher Wray and current Deputy Director David Bowdich, raises questions about whether the FBI and Justice Department sped up the investigation of McCabe in order to fire him before his scheduled retirement.
McCabe and his attorneys have argued that the FBI and Justice Department caved to pressure from President Donald Trump, who called for McCabe to be fired and stripped of his pension for various alleged misdeeds. Trump cited political donations from a top Hillary Clinton ally to McCabe’s wife’s political campaign for Virginia state Senate.
Had McCabe reached retirement, he would have been able to begin immediately drawing from his pension. But the early termination means that he has to wait several years before drawing from his pension. McCabe also lost access to some health coverage, Politico reported in March.
In a handwritten memo dated March 7, 2018, Will told Wray and Bowdich that a report of the investigation into McCabe would be provided to Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Rod Rosenstein, “as he has final decision making authority over adverse disciplinary actions impacting the [deputy director].”
It seems unlikely that this will reach final resolution before Mr. McCabe’s March 18 retirement date, but that is up to the DAG,” wrote Will, who referred to the OPR investigation as the “McCabe [Wall Street Journal] leak matter.”
McCabe was unceremoniously fired just over a week later. OPR submitted the recommendation to the Justice Department on March 14. McCabe appealed to top Justice Department officials the next day, but was fired a day later.
McCabe’s legal team declined comment on the latest FBI disclosure. The Justice Department and FBI did not respond to requests for comment.
McCabe was under investigation by OPR and the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) over a leak to The Wall Street Journal before the 2016 election.
Investigators found that McCabe authorized his deputy, Lisa Page, to disclose information to WSJ regarding an investigation into the Clinton Foundation. OPR and the OIG accused McCabe of a “lack of candor” in four separate interviews — some under oath — with investigators.
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