Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe responded angrily to the finding of the Inspector General report and notably attacked the recollection of former FBI Director James Comey as a witness. As I discussed in an earlier column, McCabe raised over a half million dollars on GoFundMe before the release of the report showing that he repeatedly made false statements to investigators as well as Comey. The report by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, appointed by President Barack Obama is blistering and says that McCabe intentionally lied to protect his image and record. McCabe lashed out at the career officials behind the report and said Comey’s countervailing memory should not be given much credence.
The report found McCabe was the source of the leak to The Wall Street Journal about an FBI probe of the Clinton Foundation. McCabe previously said that Comey was informed of the leak and that it was routine. The report says it was not routine and was not in “the public interest.” Rather it found it was in McCabe’s interest.
“[W]e concluded that McCabe’s decision to confirm the existence of the CF investigation through an anonymously sourced quote, recounting the content of a phone call with a senior department official in a manner designed to advance his personal interests at the expense of department leadership, was clearly not within the public interest exception.”
Unfortunately, Trump again tweeted himself off the high road with a breathless tweet declaring McCabe “LIED! LIED! LIED!” and that all of the Russia allegations were “all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!”
However, it was the “den of thieves and lowlifes” that investigated and implicated McCabe. Trump also said McCabe was under the control of Comey. Yet, McCabe questions Comey’s value as witness in his statement through counsel.
McCabe’s counsel, Michael Bromwich, wrote Congress that
“It is undisputed that Mr. McCabe was one of three senior FBI officials authorized to share information with the media, including on sensitive investigative matters . . . He chose to exercise that authority in October 2016, during one of the most turbulent periods in the history of the bureau, with the knowledge of Director Comey and other senior members of FBI management . . .
Mr. McCabe’s recollection of discussions he had with Director Comey about this issue is extremely clear; Director Comey’s recollection is, by his own acknowledgment, not at all clear. And yet two of the lack of candor allegations are based on Director Comey’s admittedly vague and uncertain recollection of those discussions. “
Yet the Inspector General concluded “While the only direct evidence regarding this McCabe-Comey conversation were the recollections of the two participants, there is considerable circumstantial evidence and we concluded that the overwhelming weight of that evidence supported Comey’s version of the conversation.”
Bromwich also makes a Michael Cohen-like threat of defamation against Congress as well as lawsuit against “the president and senior members of the administration.” for “wrongful termination, defamation, constitutional violations and more.” He added in true Cohen-like style “Thank you for providing even more material for the defamation suit we are actively considering filing against you and your colleagues. Stay tuned.”
I would rather not. The chances of successfully suing Congress for defamation is exceptionally low in this type of circumstance. Moreover, arguing wrongful termination after a long investigation from career employees finding that you lied is a rather tall order.
The more intriguing question is who the other DOJ officials might be. Comey himself has testified that he never leaked information to the media.