Andrew McCabe controversies, from the Trump text scandal to his wife's failed campaign
Andrew McCabe has long been under fire, specifically by Republicans who have voiced conflict-of-interest complaints over McCabe's ties to the Democratic Party. Now, a bombshell report released by the Justice Department, reveals the former FBI director misled investigators multiple times about his role in a news media leak, though McCabe denies the allegations.
"DOJ just issued the McCabe report - which is a total disaster," Trump said in an April 13 tweet. "He LIED! LIED! LIED! McCabe was totally controlled by Comey - McCabe is Comey!! No collusion, all made up by this den of thieves and lowlifes!"
McCabe says that when he believed his answers to the inspector general were misunderstood, he went back and tried to correct them. His lawyer says the inspector general unfairly tried to conclude its work before McCabe could retire with a full pension.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe on March 16 -- two days short of his retirement and receiving a full pension. The firing was followed by reports that McCabe kept personal memos detailing interactions with President Trump.
“Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me,” Trump tweeted on March 18. “I don’t believe he made memos except to help his own agenda, probably at a later date. Same with lying James Comey. Can we call them Fake Memos?”
"[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," the report says.
Here's what you need to know about McCabe's FBI career and the controversies -- including his wife's having received donations for a failed 2015 Senate run from a group tied to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe -- that have followed.
What should I know about McCabe’s FBI career?
McCabe started at the FBI in 1996 as a special agent and has “held leadership positions in the Counterterrorism Division, the National Security Branch and the Washington Field Office,” the FBI said.
In July 2015, a press release announced that then-FBI Director James Comey had appointed McCabe associate deputy director. Comey named McCabe the bureau’s deputy director in January 2016.
“Andy’s 19 years of experience, combined with his vision, judgment and ability to communicate, make him a perfect fit for this job,” Comey said in a statement at the time.
After Trump fired Comey, McCabe was acting director of the FBI from May 9, 2017, until Aug. 2, 2017. Trump’s pick to replace Comey, Christopher Wray, was sworn in the same day.
What about his handling of the Clinton email probe?
The inspector general's office, which for more than a year investigated the FBI's handling of the Clinton email investigation, concluded that McCabe authorized FBI officials to speak with a journalist for an October 2016 story in The Wall Street Journal, according to The New York Times.
Though Trump has called McCabe biased, the story in question suggested that FBI officials wanted to more actively probe the Clinton Foundation but were discouraged from more aggressive steps by the Obama Justice Department.
The DOJ's April report found that McCabe authorized a leak to a Wall Street Journal reporter about the contents of a telephone call in August 2016.
"Among the purposes of the disclosure was to rebut a narrative that had been developing following a story in the WSJ on October 23, 2016, that questioned McCabe’s impartiality in overseeing FBI investigations involving [Clinton], and claimed that McCabe had ordered the termination of the [FBI's Clinton Foundation investigation] due to Department of Justice pressure," the report says.
In January, The Journal reported that McCabe knew of thousands of emails related to the Clinton investigation for at least a month before Comey told Congress about them.
The day he was fired, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said in a statement that "the FBI expects every employee to adhere to the highest standards of honesty, integrity, and accountability."
In response, McCabe said that his firing was a part of the Trump administration's "war on the FBI," adding that he was being singled out because of the "role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey."
What is the “Andy” text message?
FBI agent Peter Strzok was dismissed from Mueller’s Russia probe after being linked to a number of anti-Trump text messages, including those calling Trump a “menace” and a “loathsome human.”
An Aug. 15, 2016, text message Strzok sent to FBI lawyer Lisa Page apparently references an “insurance policy” against Trump winning the 2016 election.
“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office - that there’s no way he gets elected - but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk,” Strzok said in the text message. “It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
The “Andy” mentioned in the text was possibly a reference to McCabe.
What about his wife’s State Senate campaign?
McCabe’s wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia State Senate seat in 2015. The political action committee for then-Virginia Governor McAuliffe, a Democrat and Clinton ally, donated $467,500 to her campaign, while the Virginia Democratic party gave $207,788, The Journal reported. Andrew McCabe was associate deputy director of the FBI at the time.
McCabe “played no role, attended no events, and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind,” the FBI told The Journal in a statement. “Months after the completion of her campaign, then-Associate Deputy Director McCabe was promoted to Deputy, where, in that position, he assumed for the first time, an oversight role in the investigation into Secretary Clinton’s emails.”
Trump has been critical of the donations.
Dr. McCabe later lost the race to her Republican opponent, incumbent Dick Black.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson, Barnini Chakraborty, Madeline Farber, Lukas Mikelionis, Joseph Weber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.