Former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe violated his official recusal in the Hillary Clinton email case, according to the inspector general report released Thursday by Michael Horowitz.
McCabe’s links to Clinton are well documented, including the well-defined Hatch Act violation in which McCabe campaigned for his Clinton-connected candidate wife.
According to the Horowitz report:
Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe: As we describe in Chapter Thirteen, in 2015, McCabe’s spouse, Dr. Jill McCabe, ran for a Virginia State Senate seat. During the campaign, Dr. McCabe’s campaign committee received substantial monetary and in-kind contributions, totaling $675,288 or approximately 40 percent of the total contributions raised by Dr. McCabe for her state senate campaign, from then Governor McAuliffe’s Political Action Committee (PAC) and from the Virginia Democratic Party. In addition, on June 26, 2015, Hillary Clinton was the featured speaker at a fundraiser in Virginia hosted by the Virginia Democratic Party and attended by Governor McAuliffe.
At the time his wife sought to run for state senate, McCabe was the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office (WFO) and sought ethics advice from FBI ethics officials and attorneys. We found that FBI ethics officials and attorneys did not fully appreciate the potential significant implications to McCabe and the FBI from campaign donations to Dr. McCabe’s campaign. The FBI did not implement any review of campaign donations to assess potential conflicts or appearance issues that could arise from the donations. On this issue, we believe McCabe did what he was supposed to do by notifying those responsible in the FBI for ethics issues and seeking their guidance.
After McCabe became FBI Deputy Director in February 2016, McCabe had an active role in the supervision of the Midyear investigation, and oversight of the Clinton Foundation investigation, until he recused himself from these investigations on November 1, 2016. McCabe voluntarily recused himself on November 1, at Comey’s urging, as the result of an October 23 article in the Wall Street Journal identifying the substantial donations from McAuliffe’s PAC and the Virginia Democratic Party to Dr. McCabe.
With respect to these investigations, we agreed with the FBI’s chief ethics official that McCabe was not at any time required to recuse under the relevant authorities. However, voluntary recusal is always permissible with the approval of a supervisor or ethics official, which is what McCabe did on November 1. Had the FBI put in place a system for reviewing campaign donations to Dr. McCabe, which were public under Virginia law, the sizable donations from McAuliffe’s PAC and the Virginia Democratic Party may have triggered prior consideration of the very appearance concerns raised in the October 23 WSJ article. Finally, we also found that McCabe did not fully comply with this recusal in a few
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