Speed Reads

Trump v FBI

Justice Department expected to criticize FBI's Andrew McCabe over leaks about Hillary Clinton

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz says he will release an internal investigation into the FBI's handling of Hillary Clinton's emails in the next few weeks, and the report is expected to single out former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for criticism. McCabe stepped down in January, amid sharp criticism from President Trump and concerns sparked by Horowitz's coming report, and he's expected to retire after he becomes eligible on March 18. Horowitz will especially accuse McCabe of improperly disclosing information to The Wall Street Journal for a significant October 2016 article on the Clinton Foundation, The New York Times and The Washington Post report.

Trump is likely to use the inspector general report as "new ammunition to criticize" McCabe and the FBI, the Times says, but "McCabe's disclosures to the news media do not fit neatly into that assumption: They contributed to a negative article about Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration's Justice Department." The Journal article "came just as the FBI had reopened the Clinton email investigation on the eve of the presidential election — a matter that was separate from the Clinton Foundation case but had parallels in the way it was fraught with politics," the Post reports, and the Journal report "presents McCabe as a complicated figure," seen both blocking the Clinton Foundation inquiry and defending it.

McCabe is reportedly accused of authorizing a call with the Journal to present the FBI's side of the story, a common practice in the federal government but risky in law enforcement. Justice Department rules prohibit such background briefings to disclose confidential information, and Horowitz is expected to accuse McCabe of confirming the existence of a continuing investigation and possibly of misleading investigators about his actions. McCabe maintains he did nothing improper and did not purposefully mislead investigators.