A public claim from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is at direct odds with a statement former FBI Director James Comey gave internal Department of Justice investigators, according to a new CNN report.
One of the two men appears to be lying and it could have serious implications on their futures.
According to the report, Comey told investigators with DOJ inspector general Michael Horowitz that he was never informed of the leak McCabe authorized, putting him at direct odds with his former deputy.
McCabe was fired earlier this month upon recommendation from the FBI's Office of Personal Responsibility after it was discovered he allegedly leaked information to the Wall Street Journal about an ongoing investigation in Oct. 2016 and then lied about it to Horowitz's team.
After he was fired, McCabe said he was authorized to make the leak given his position as deputy FBI director and claimed Comey knew about the leak, though McCabe's statement did not clarify whether Comey simply knew about the leak or if he authorized it.
"The [Office of the Inspector General’s] investigation has focused on information I chose to share with a reporter through my public affairs officer and a legal counselor. As Deputy Director, I was one of only a few people who had the authority to do that,” McCabe claimed.
“It was not a secret, it took place over several days, and others, including [then-Director Comey], were aware of the interaction with the reporter. It was the type of exchange with the media that the Deputy Director oversees several times per week," he explained.
Why is this significant?
The allegation that McCabe misled Comey is significant because Comey found himself in hot water after McCabe's termination two weeks ago for apparently misleading Senate investigators last May.
During a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Comey was asked if he ever authorized leaks to the media during his time as FBI director, which he denied ever doing. Because McCabe's post-firing statement contradicted Comey's claims, many believed Comey potentially lied to Congress that day.
However, Comey's statement to internal DOJ investigators would corroborate his statement to congressional investigators — that he never authorized leaks nor did he know about the leak McCabe authorized.
Indeed, if Comey never authorized or knew of McCabe's leak, McCabe's apparent lie could have serious implications. Constitutional lawyer Jonathan Turley even said McCabe should be worried about going to prison, not his government pension.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) told Fox News this week that Horowitz's report shows McCabe lied four times: once to Comey, twice to Horowitz and once to DOJ investigators.
Horowitz made his report available for Congress to view this week.
How did McCabe respond?
His attorney, Michael Bromwich, said in a statement, according to CNN:
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. 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.
Bromwich added that the allegations fail to prove McCabe lacked "candor."