UNITED STATES.- The Justice Department’s inspector general has sent a criminal referral about fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe to federal prosecutors in Washington, his lawyer said Thursday.
The referral to the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia does not mean McCabe will ever be charged, but it does raise the prospect that the longtime law enforcement official could face a criminal investigation into whether he illegally misled officials about his authorization of a news media disclosure.
Prosecutors could decide to charge him if they conclude he intentionally lied. McCabe’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, said the standard for an inspector general referral is very low and he expected McCabe to avoid prosecution.
“We are confident that, unless there is inappropriate pressure from high levels of the administration, the US Attorney’s Office will conclude that it should decline to prosecute,” Bromwich said in a statement.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions fired McCabe last month, less than two days before his scheduled retirement, on the recommendation of FBI disciplinary officials who said McCabe had been dishonest in interviews with investigators. Justice Department officials declined to comment Thursday.
A report from the watchdog office released last week concluded that McCabe had misled investigators and his own boss, then-Director James Comey, about his role in an October 2016 Wall Street Journal article on an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.