Federal investigators are still determining whether to charge former deputy FBI director with a crime for misleading investigators and interviewed James Comey as part of the probe, the Washington Post reported Thursday. The interview is an indication that the Justice Department is taking seriously the findings of its inspector general, who accused McCabe of providing misleading statements on four occasions, three of which were under oath. Lying to federal investigators is punishable by 5 years in prison.
At issue is a dispute between McCabe and Comey over whether Comey was aware that McCabe authorized the disclosure of information on the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email server to two reporters. “I have a strong impression he conveyed to me ‘it wasn’t me boss.’ And I don’t think that was by saying those words, I think it was most likely by saying ‘I don’t know how this s— gets in the media or why would people talk about this kind of thing,’ words that I would fairly take as ‘I, Andy, didn’t do it,’ ” Comey said of his interaction with McCabe shortly after the story ran, according to the inspector general.
McCabe has maintained that he did not intentionally mislead investigators, but “by the inspector general’s telling, in seeking to advance his own interests, McCabe authorized two FBI officials to talk to the Wall Street Journal about a story he believed would cast him as standing in the way of a probe of Hillary Clinton’s foundation,” according to the Post. “Then, according to the inspector general, McCabe misled Comey and FBI and inspector general investigators about having done so.”
“Comey’s interview, while significant, does not indicate prosecutors have reached any conclusions, and people familiar with the process said it is not surprising given the allegations McCabe faces,” the Post notes.