CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin questioned the legitimacy Thursday of a Justice Department investigation against his CNN colleague Andrew McCabe.
“It looks like he’s going to be indicted. But, you know, good luck to the government proving its case,” Toobin said in a panel discussion about reports the Justice Department rejected McCabe’s appeal to avoid charges in a media leak investigation.
The Justice Department told McCabe, a former FBI deputy director, his appeal was denied, two sources familiar with the investigation told the Daily Caller News Foundation Thursday. Jessie Liu, the U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., recommended McCabe be indicted, one source said. (RELATED: DOJ Rejects Andrew McCabe’s Appeal To Avoid Charges)
Toobin acknowledged McCabe’s role at CNN, which hired him as an analyst on Aug. 23, and said viewers should factor that relationship into any analysis of the case. He launched into an unfettered defense of McCabe, while casting doubt on prosecutors’ motives.
“Andy McCabe is a CNN contributor. He is a colleague and a friend to many of us who work here … but people need to factor that in to what they’re hearing,” said Toobin, adding: “This is an extremely unusual prosecution.”
“There is every bit of a sign of a vindictive crusade against McCabe,” he said later in the segment.
The FBI fired McCabe on March 16, 2018 upon the recommendation of the FBI’s Office of Professional Responsibility and the Justice Department’s inspector general. He allegedly displayed a “lack of candor” in four interviews — two of which were under oath — regarding his authorization of an FBI attorney to share information with a Wall Street Journal reporter.
McCabe authorized his general counsel, Lisa Page, to disclose to reporter Devlin Barrett that the FBI was investigating the Clinton Foundation.
Michael Horowitz, the Justice Department inspector general, noted in a report released on April 13, 2018 that McCabe was authorized to make disclosures to the media if the disclosure was done in the public interest. Horowitz determined McCabe authorized the leak for personal reasons. McCabe was under fire at the time over campaign contributions that his wife had received for her Virginia State Senate campaign from an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“You never have the right to lie to an inspector general. If he lied, it’s a crime, but lying to inspector general is very rarely prosecuted,” Toobin said. “He also has an impeccable record as one of the most honored and successful FBI agents of his generation.”
Steve Krakauer, a former CNN vice president, said on Twitter that Toobin’s commentary shows CNN’s difficulty in hiring McCabe.
Why is CNN hiring Andrew McCabe so journalistically challenging?@JeffreyToobin, before he moves into his supposedly objective legal analysis today, says: “Andy McCabe is a CNN contributor, he is a colleague and friend…people need to factor that in to what they’re hearing”: pic.twitter.com/mzt725eUGg
— Steve Krakauer (@SteveKrak) September 12, 2019
McCabe played a key role in the Trump-Russia probe. The Justice Department inspector general is expected to soon release a report on the FBI’s handling of that investigation and applications that the bureau made for surveillance warrants against the Trump campaign.
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