Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe won't be charged, Justice Department says

A target of President Trump, McCabe was fired from the FBI in March 2018.

February 14, 2020, 5:20 PM

The Justice Department has informed former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that it will not seek charges against him for allegedly lying to internal investigators several years ago.

McCabe was fired from the FBI on March 16, 2018, after the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that McCabe misled investigators looking into how Justice Department and FBI officials handled matters associated with the 2016 presidential election.

Reacting on CNN, where he is now a contributor, McCabe said that it was an "absolute disgrace" that it took two years for the Justice Department to reach what he called the "obvious conclusion" -- that he said could have been drawn "a long, long time ago."

"Just so glad that my kids don't have to live with this anymore," McCabe, a frequent target of President Donald Trump's wrath, said.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe listens on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 11, 2017, during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo

"To have this horrific black cloud that's been hanging over me and my family for almost the last two years, to have that finally lifted is just an unbelievable -- it's a relief I'm not sure I can really explain to you adequately," McCabe said.

He also said he had been concerned that Trump's "revenge" following his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial had "amplified my concerns about what would happen in my own case."

McCabe filed a civil suit against the Department of Justice and the FBI in August, arguing his firing was unjust and politically motivated.

The suit, which also names Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray as defendants, claims that McCabe faced "unlawful retaliation for his refusal to pledge allegiance to a single man," apparently a reference to President Donald Trump.

McCabe served briefly as the bureau's director after his predecessor, James Comey, was fired. McCabe has long defended his actions, insisting he did his best to relay accurate information to those investigators.

Barr intervened Tuesday to reverse a sentencing recommendation made by prosecutors in the case of longtime Trump ally Roger Stone.

Attorney General William Barr speaks to ABC News' Pierre Thomas during an interview on Feb. 13, 2020.
ABC News

Following that unprecedented intervention, all four line prosecutors withdrew from the case in protest, with one resigning from the Justice Department entirely.

Facing the prospect of potential further resignations, Barr spoke out Thursday in an interview with ABC News in which he admonished President Donald Trump for tweets attacking a district judge and congratulating Barr for "taking control" of the Stone case.

"To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about our people in the department, our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases, make it impossible for me to do my job and to assure the courts and the prosecutors in the department that we’re doing our work with integrity," Barr said.

On Friday afternoon, new court records obtained by a government watchdog group revealed a federal judge’s harsh criticism of the Justice Department over its handling of the McCabe case, slamming prosecutors for leaving the former FBI deputy director "in limbo pending a decision."

"I just think the integrity of the process is being unduly undermined by inappropriate comments and actions on the part of people at the top of our government," said U.S. Judge Reggie Barnett Walton during a closed door hearing in July, according to records obtained by Citizens for Responsible Ethics in Washington (CREW) as part of a FOIA lawsuit.

"I think it's very unfortunate," Judge Walton continued. "And I think as a government and as a society we're going to pay a price at some point for this."

It's unclear whether Barr's criticism also alluded to the office's investigation of McCabe, whom Trump has targeted in dozens of tweets and in his public statements complaining about the Russia investigation.

ABC News' Allison Pecorin and Luc Bruggeman contributed to this report.

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