Judicial Watch: New Documents Show FBI Deputy Director McCabe Did Not Recuse Himself from the Clinton Email Scandal Investigation until Week Before Presidential Election
His Wife’s Campaign Received $700,000 from Clinton Friends
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today released Justice Department records showing that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe did not recuse himself from the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s unsecure, non-government email server until Tuesday, November 1, 2016, one week prior to the presidential election. The Clinton email probe was codenamed “Midyear Exam.”
While working as Assistant Director in Charge of the Washington Field Office, McCabe controlled resources supporting the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. An October 2016 internal FBI memorandum labeled “Overview of Deputy Director McCabe’s Recusal Related To Dr. McCabe’s Campaign for Political Office,” details talking points about McCabe’s various potential conflicts of interest, including the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s illicit server, which officially began in July 2015:
While at [Washington Field Office] did Mr. McCabe provide assistance to the Clinton investigation?
After the referral was made, FBI Headquarters asked the Washington Field Office for personnel to conduct a special investigation. McCabe was serving as [Assistant Director] and provided personnel resources. However, he was not told what the investigation was about. In February 2016 McCabe became Deputy Director and began overseeing the Clinton investigation.
The Overview also shows if asked whether McCabe played any role in his wife’s campaign, the scripted response was: “No. Then-[Assistant Director] McCabe played no role, attended no events and did not participate in fundraising or support of any kind.”
In June 2017, Circa reported that social media photos showed “McCabe wearing a T-shirt supporting his wife’s campaign during a public event and then posting a photo on social media urging voters to join him in voting for his wife.” The Justice Department IG is investigating whether McCabe properly disclosed payments to his wife’s campaign on his ethics report, as well as possible Hatch Act violations.
The Overview attempts to deflect concerns regarding the timing of the announcement of Mrs. McCabe’s candidacy in mid-March 2015, fast on the heels of Clinton’s illicit server becoming public knowledge.
The news that Clinton used a private email server broke March 2, 2015. Five days later, former Clinton Foundation board member and Democrat party fundraiser, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe met with the McCabes to recruit her for a run for the state Senate. She announced her candidacy on March 12. Soon afterward, McAuliffe-aligned political groups donated nearly $700,000 (40% of the campaign’s total funds) to McCabe’s wife for her campaign. Around that time, Gov. McAuliffe would also come under criminal investigation by the FBI.
An April 29, 2015, document titled “Protocol regarding Potential Conflicts of Interest” sent from the Washington Field Office to various FBI officials – and self-approved by McCabe – indicates that he was “consulting with individuals within the Washington Field Office and [FBI headquarters]” prior to the announcement of his wife’s political campaign:
In March 2015, Dr. Jill McCabe announced her candidacy for Virginia State Senate. Dr. McCabe is the wife of Washington Field Office ADIC Andrew McCabe. Prior to Dr. McCabe’s official announcement, the [assistant director] consulted with individuals within [Washington Field Office] and [FBI headquarters] to identify limitations on his participation in her campaign and to identify areas where Dr. McCabe’s campaign may present potential conflicts of interest for the ADIC in WFO investigations and operations. [Emphasis added]
While this same document advises against McCabe’s involvement in “all public corruption investigations” concerning the state of Virginia during the campaign, no restrictions are advised in his involvement in Virginia cases following the campaign or his involvement with the Clinton email investigation. Also, it advises with respect to other conflicts of interest the Washington Field Office “will assess all other matters on a case-by-case basis,” and provide a “protocol” for their examination, which would be reviewed by a subordinate of McCabe’s, the Chief Division Counsel.
“The FBI is compromised. Mr. McCabe should have been nowhere near the Hillary Clinton investigations,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “That he saw fit to recuse himself only days before the election further demonstrates the FBI’s Clinton email investigation was a sham. No wonder it took a year and a federal lawsuit to get these records. It is well past time for the Justice Department to reopen the Clinton email investigation.”
Judicial Watch obtained the documents through a July 24, 2017, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to an October 24, 2016, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01494)). Judicial Watch seeks:
- All records of communication between FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and other FBI or Department of Justice officials regarding ethical issues concerning the involvement of Andrew McCabe and/or his wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, in political campaigns;
- All records related to ethical guidance concerning political activities provided to Deputy Director McCabe by FBI and/or DOJ officials or elements.
Judicial Watch filed a related suit on behalf of Jeffrey A. Danik, a 30-year veteran, retired FBI supervisory special agent, against the Department of Justice for records related to McCabe (Jeffrey A. Danik v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01792)). The suit was filed in support of Danik’s October 25, 2016, and February 28, 2017, FOIA requests for records about McCabe’s “conflicts of interest” regarding his wife’s political campaign, and McCabe’s reporting to the FBI of any job interviews or offers. Specifically, the two FOIA requests seek:
Text messages and emails of McCabe containing “Dr. Jill McCabe,” “Jill,” “Common Good VA,” “Terry McAuliffe,” “Clinton,” “Virginia Democratic Party,” “Democrat,” “Conflict,” “Senate,” “Virginia Senate,” “Until I return,” “Paris,” “France,” “Campaign,” “Run,” “Political,” “Wife,” “Donation,” “OGC,” Email,” or “New York Times.”
Additionally, Judicial Watch filed a July 26 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01493)), which seeks:
- Any and all Standard Forms 50 and 52 (i.e., SF-50s and SF-52s) for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all requests for approvals of travel submitted by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all travel vouchers and accompanying receipts and related documentation submitted by FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe;
- Any and all calendar entries for FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.