Ex-FBI Official McCabe Averts Federal Charges as Trump Tensions Rise

WASHINGTON (CN) — Lawyers for Andrew McCabe said Friday that the former FBI deputy director will not face federal charges over his alleged involvement in a news media disclosure.

The Justice Department’s inspector general’s office had triggered the probe in 2018 by concluding that McCabe had repeatedly lied about having authorized a subordinate to share information with a newspaper reporter for a 2016 article about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

Then-FBI acting director Andrew McCabe listens during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in June 2017. (AP file photo/Alex Brandon)

McCabe was fired in 2018 for what the Justice Department called “lack of candor” and has become a frequent target of Trump’s attacks in the intervening years. Denying that he intentionally misled anyone, McCabe has said his dismissal was politically motivated. In August 2019 lawsuit, McCabe alleged that officials had used the inspector general’s conclusions as a pretext to rid the FBI of leaders Trump perceived as biased against him.

Washington federal prosecutors offered little in the way of a precise reason for dropping the McCabe investigation, notifying McCabe’s lawyers Friday that the decision was reached after “careful consideration” and “based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time.”

The decision is expected to heighten tensions between Trump and Attorney General Barr, who disclosed just a day earlier in a televised interview that Trump’s comments about the Justice Department were undercutting his political agenda and raising questions about the department’s credibility.

Increasingly distrustful of the Justice Department, Trump has been outspoken about his desire to see criminal charges brought against his various political enemies, with former FBI Director James Comey at the forefront of that list.

The White House has not commented on the McCabe decision as of 2 p.m. Friday.

Trump’s focus on McCabe predates his election, stretching to fall 2016 when news emerged that McCabe’s wife had accepted campaign contributions from a political action committee associated with former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe during an unsuccessful run for the state Senate there.

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