The Department of Justice has dropped its criminal investigation against former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
McCabe was fired by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March 2018, a day before his planned retirement. The DOJ said at the time that McCabe was fired because he broke FBI rules by improperly disclosing information to journalists related to an investigation into Hillary Clinton.
The DOJ’s internal watchdog later said that McCabe concluded that “lacked candor, including under oath” when answering questions about the leaks.
McCabe was a frequent target of President Donald Trump, who blamed the former official for what he has called a baseless investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russians to affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.
“We learned this morning through a phone call from the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office that was followed by a letter that the Justice Department’s criminal investigation of Andrew McCabe has been closed,” attorneys Michael Bromwich and David Schertler said in the statement.
“This means that no charges will be brought against him based on the facts underlying the Office of the Inspector General’s April 2018 report.”
“At long last, justice has been done in this matter. We said at the outset of the criminal investigation, almost two years ago, that if the facts and the law determined the result, no charges would be brought,” they said.
“We are pleased that Andrew McCabe and his family can go on with their lives without this cloud hanging over them.”
The Justice Department said in a letter to McCabe’s attorneys that “after careful consideration, the government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client.”
“Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed,” the letter said.
The Justice Department’s decision is likely to anger Trump. He has repeatedly fumed about the fact that several of his former aides and advisers have been convicted and sentenced to prison for a wide range of crimes during his presidency, while senior DOJ officials, such as former FBI director James Comey and now McCabe, have not been prosecuted.
Trump targeted McCabe throughout the two year Mueller probe, frequently attacking both the FBI agent and his wife, Jill McCabe, on Twitter.
Jill McCabe mounted a failed bid for Virginia Senate in 2015, and her campaign had received hundreds of thousands of dollars from a PAC overseen by Terry McAuliffe, a longtime ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Trump seized on the donations as proof that McCabe was protecting his 2016 opponent, Hillary Clinton, and using the F.B.I. to wage a covert “Deep State” war on Trump and his allies.
News of the DOJ’s decision to drop its probe of McCabe came a day after Attorney General William Barr complained about Trump’s tweets regarding the criminal case of Trump’s longtime friend, Roger Stone.
After federal prosecutors recommended Monday that a judge sentence Stone to up to nine years in prison — a harsh sentence that was nevertheless in line with federal sentencing guidelines — Trump vented rage on Twitter.
“This is a horrible and very unfair situation. The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them,” Trump tweeted. “Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”
The department overrode its own prosecutors’ recommendation Tuesday, submitting an amended sentencing memo to the judge asking for “far less” than nine years behind bars for Stone. Four prosecutors quit working on Stone’s case that same day — and one of them left the Justice Department entirely.
But Trump praised Barr for the move: “Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought. Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”
Barr and his department came under intense attacks for their involvement in Stone’s case. Critics accused Trump of doing the president’s bidding to protect his friend Stone; some Democrats have called for Barr to resign.
The attorney general delivered a stunning rebuke of his boss Thursday, saying in an ABC News interview that Trump’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job.” He maintained that Trump did not influence his decision in Stone’s sentencing recommendation, however.