WASHINGTON – An internal FBI report appears to put Andrew McCabe’s word against James Comey’s.
The two fired FBI officials have different recollections about whether McCabe told Comey that he authorized leaks to the media in October 2016 about the Hillary Clinton investigation.
It emerged on Thursday that a report from the FBI’s disciplinary office stated that McCabe lied four separate times, including to Comey, about his role in authorizing a leak to The Wall Street Journal.
“Four times he lied. He lied to James Comey. He lied to the Office of Professional Responsibility, and he lied twice under oath to the inspector general,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said on Thursday, shortly after members of his staff viewed a report from the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR).
OPR’s report recommended that McCabe be fired as deputy director of the bureau. Attorney General Jeff Sessions accepted the recommendation and fired McCabe on March 16.
According to CNN, the OPR report says that during an Oct. 31, 2016 staff meeting, McCabe denied to Comey that he authorized an FBI official to speak with The Wall Street Journal. Comey issued a warning during that meeting about leaks of ongoing investigations.
The OPR report also states that during an interview last May with FBI investigators, McCabe again denied approving an FBI official to speak with The Journal.
He denied it again a couple months later in an interview with investigators from the Justice Department’s office of the inspector general. According to a source who spoke with CNN, the reports says that McCabe contacted the inspector general in August 2017 to acknowledge that he may have allowed an FBI official to talk with the newspaper.
McCabe was interviewed twice more — once in August by the Office of Professional Responsibility and again on Nov. 29 by the inspector general’s office.
The differing versions appear to pit McCabe’s recollection against Comey’s. But one of CNN’s sources downplayed the discrepancy.
“They recall it differently,” the source told CNN. “Andy thinks in good faith he told him, and Comey in good faith says he wasn’t told.”
“The notion that the two guys are pitted against each other is crazy.”
McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said on Friday that McCabe did not lie to Comey. He said that McCabe has email traffic showing that he and Comey discussed McCabe’s decision to authorize a leak to the media.
“One thing is clear: Mr. McCabe never misled Director Comey. Director Comey’s memory of these interactions was equivocal and speculative, while Mr. McCabe’s recollection is clear, unequivocal and supported by documentary evidence,” Bromwich said in a statement.
“Director Comey has no specific recollection of what Mr. McCabe told him, while Mr. McCabe remembers the two discussed the article before and after its publication.”
He added that emails between McCabe and Comey “clearly show” that McCabe advised “that he was working with colleagues at the FBI to correct inaccuracies before the stories were published, and that they remained in contact through the weekend while the interactions with the reporter continued.”
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