The Justice Department inspector general is preparing a damaging report alleging that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was responsible for approving an improper media disclosure, the Washington Post reports. McCabe will also be accused of misleading investigators about his actions. The report is a part of Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s broad review of the FBI and Justice Department’s handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. Investigators found that McCabe authorized the disclosure of information to the Wall Street Journal for a 2016 story that examined feuding inside the FBI and Justice Department during a separate investigation into the Clintons’ family foundation.
Horowitz’s report is almost certain to be used by President Trump, who has railed against leaks and made McCabe a particular target of his ire. McCabe, 49, briefly served as acting FBI director after President Trump fired James Comey, and McCabe became a lightning rod in the political battles over the FBI, Clinton and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to influence the 2016 election. The Wall Street Journal’s story was notable for the level of detail it contained about internal law enforcement debates, and its revelation of specific information about an ongoing criminal case was considered by the inspector general to be particularly problematic. The Journal reported that McCabe asked a Justice Department official who was upset to learn of steps the FBI had taken in the Clinton Foundation investigation, “Are you telling me that I need to shut down a validly predicated investigation?” That would contradict any attempt by Trump to claim that McCabe was favoring the Democratic presidential candidate.