No charges for former FBI deputy over Clinton leak - RTHK
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No charges for former FBI deputy over Clinton leak

2020-02-15 HKT 01:54
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  • McCabe says his sacking in 2018 was politically motivated. File photo: AP
    McCabe says his sacking in 2018 was politically motivated. File photo: AP
Federal prosecutors have declined to charge former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, closing an investigation into whether he lied to officials about his involvement in a news media disclosure, McCabe's legal team said Friday.

The decision resolves a criminal investigation that spanned more than a year and began with a referral from the Justice Department’s inspector general, which said McCabe repeatedly lied about having authorised a subordinate to share information with a newspaper reporter for a 2016 article about an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

McCabe’s lawyers said they were told that the case is closed and “no charges will be brought against him based on the facts”. The prosecutors said they decided “not to pursue criminal charges against your client” after careful consideration. “Based on the totality of the circumstances and all of the information known to the government at this time, we consider the matter closed.”

McCabe, a frequent target of attacks from President Donald Trump, has denied intentionally misleading anyone. He said his 2018 firing - for what the Justice Department called “lack of candour” - was politically motivated. He sued the Justice Department in August, saying officials had used the inspector general’s conclusions as a pretext to rid the FBI of leaders Trump perceived as biased against him.

The decision not to prosecute was revealed at the end of a week of startling tensions between Trump and the Justice Department over the treatment of one of the president's longtime allies and confidants, Roger Stone. It is likely to further agitate Trump, who has repeatedly complained that the Justice Department has pursued his former aides and advisers but not prosecuted his perceived political foes. Attorney General William Barr pushed back at Trump in a television interview on Thursday, saying the president's tweets about ongoing criminal cases are making his job impossible."

The decision to spare McCabe criminal charges eliminates the prospect of a sensational trial that would have refocused public attention on the chaotic months of 2016, when the FBI was entangled in presidential politics through investigations touching both main contenders - Democrat Hillary Clinton and Trump, her Republican opponent.

The investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington arose from an October 2016 story in The Wall Street Journal that described internal debates roiling the FBI and the Justice Department weeks before the presidential election about how aggressively the Clinton Foundation should be investigated. The article recounted a particularly tense phone call between McCabe and a senior Justice Department official about the investigation.

The inspector general’s report said McCabe repeatedly told internal investigators that he had not authorised anyone at the FBI to speak with the reporter and that he did not know who he did. The report said McCabe ultimately corrected that account and confirmed that he had encouraged the conversation with the reporter to counter a narrative that he thought was false.

McCabe has denied any wrongdoing and has said he was distracted by the tumult surrounding the FBI and the White House - one of the interviews took place the same day that former FBI Director FBI James Comey - during the times he was questioned. (AP)