Justice Department drops McCabe criminal investigation

Former Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI General Counsel Jim Baker talks describe how President Trump's personal attacks that included an accusation of treason affected them personally and those around them.

Posted: Feb 14, 2020 2:00 PM
Updated: Feb 14, 2020 2:00 PM

The Department of Justice is dropping its criminal investigation of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe without bringing charges, it announced on Friday.

McCabe's attorneys received a phone call and a letter from the US Attorney's Office in DC on Friday announcing the declination.

"We write to inform you that, after careful consideration, the Government has decided not to pursue criminal charges against your client, Andrew G. McCabe, arising from the referral" made by the Inspector General's office to investigate his behavior, the DC US Attorney's Office wrote. McCabe's attorneys released the letter on Friday. "Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the Government at this time, we consider the matter closed."

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice declined to provide more information.

"To have this horrific black cloud that's been hanging over me and my family for almost the last two years, to have that finally lifted... it's a relief that I'm not sure I can really explain to you adequately. It's just a very emotional moment for my whole family," McCabe told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Friday.

Despite saying he was happy with the conclusion, McCabe called it an "absolute disgrace" that the DOJ and US attorney's office took two years before they "finally drew the obvious conclusion."

McCabe, who is a CNN contributor, has been perceived by President Donald Trump as one of his foes for his work on the early Russia investigation for the FBI.

The Justice Department previously appeared to be nearing a grand jury indictment of McCabe last fall after top officials rejected a private attempt by McCabe's lawyers to appeal any coming prosecution.

The investigation then fell silent, with McCabe's attorneys trying to get answers for months about its status. Even a federal judge attempted to force the Justice Department to give McCabe and the public an update on the investigation's status. The Justice Department refused to do so.

The announcement on Friday comes at the end of a bruising week for the Justice Department and especially its prosecutors in DC, after the President publicly pressured them toward his political wishes.

The Justice Department had four prosecutors in its DC US Attorney's Office quit the criminal case against Roger Stone, after departmental leadership forced the office to lessen the sentencing recommendation for Stone, a longtime ally of the President. On Thursday, Attorney General William Barr criticized the President's tweets about ongoing cases while defending his decision to go easier on Stone in advance of his sentencing.

McCabe has found himself a target of investigators and Republicans, including Trump, since 2016, when he authorized a leak to a then-Wall Street Journal reporter about a conversation he had endorsing the investigation of the Clinton Foundation. The Justice Department's independent inspector general, who looked into the incident, found McCabe had lacked candor on four occasions when he spoke to investigators about the leak. The inspector general then referred the matter to the FBI.

McCabe is also suing the Justice Department and FBI after he was fired last spring, and he has accused the President of politically retaliating against him.

This story has been updated with additional developments Friday.

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