Federal prosecutors recommend Andrew McCabe face criminal charge

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Federal prosecutors recommend that Andrew McCabe, former FBI second-in-command, face criminal charge

Bart Jansen, USA TODAY
,
USA TODAYSeptember 12, 2019

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors recommended seeking criminal charges against Andrew McCabe, the former deputy director of the FBI and a frequent target of criticism by President Donald Trump, according to people familiar with the decision Thursday.

McCabe was fired from the FBI just before his retirement in March 2018 after the Justice Department's internal watchdog concluded that he improperly authorized a leak about a federal investigation into the Clinton Foundation in the final weeks of the 2016 presidential campaign. Investigators concluded that he displayed a lack of candor when asked about the leak. 

The U.S. attorney in Washington, Jessie Liu, recommended moving forward with unspecified charges against McCabe, according to people familiar with the situation who were not authorized to comment publicly. McCabe's lawyers appealed that decision to Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, who rejected their request, one of the people said. McCabe's lawyers were informed of that decision Thursday.

The decision clears the way prosecutors to ask a grand jury to indict McCabe, though it was unclear Thursday when or whether that would happen. Whether McCabe is indicted will ultimately be up to a federal grand jury in Washington. 

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Washington declined to comment.

The recommendation that McCabe be charged is the latest fallout from the FBI's handling of investigations around the 2016 presidential election, when agents were investigating both of the major-party candidates. Those investigations – into Russian meddling to help Trump win the presidency and Democrat Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server – inserted the FBI into the center of fraught political controversies.

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