The DOJ is reportedly investigating whether Andrew McCabe deliberately slowed the FBI's Clinton email probe

  • The Department of Justice is examining whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe deliberately decelerated the Hillary Clinton email investigation so as not to sway the 2016 election.
  • The DOJ inspector general is reportedly looking into why McCabe took three weeks to respond to a request to examine newly-uncovered emails that agents at the time believed could be relevant to the Clinton probe.
  • McCabe was reportedly told Monday morning that he was being "removed" from the FBI, and FBI Director Christopher Wray indicated in a note to employees that the move was related to the OIG's investigation into McCabe's handling of the Clinton investigation.


The Department of Justice's inspector general is probing whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe slowed the bureau's response after he was alerted to a new batch of emails pertaining to the Hillary Clinton email investigation in early October, The Washington Post reported.

The emails in question belonged to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who was married at the time to former New York Rep. Anthony Weiner. The FBI discovered Abedin's work emails on Weiner's laptop in late September 2016, while it was investigating him for exchanging sexually explicit messages with a teenage girl. Weiner was sentenced last September to 21 months in prison after being found guilty of one charge of transferring obscene material to a minor.

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Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin
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Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin
Political aide Huma Abedin arrives for the "Glamour Women of the Year Awards" in the Manhattan borough of New York November 9, 2015. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
Mayorial candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin campaigning on W. 111 St. (Photo by Andrew Savulich/NY Daily News via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 11: Huma Abedin and Anthony Weiner attend the 2015 amfAR New York Gala at Cipriani Wall Street on February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images)
US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) (R) walks with her traveling chief-of-staff Huma Abedin as they approach a group of police officers after cancelling a rally in Fort Worth, Texas February 22, 2008. A Dallas police officer was killed Friday when his motorcycle struck a pillar as he was escorting democratic presidential candidate Senator Clinton to a rally in Dallas. Clinton cancelled the rally in Forth Worth, saying it would be inappropriate to hold a rally in light of the tragic circumstances. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MAY 27: Staffer Huma Abedin helps former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decide what special treats to buy at Main Street Bakery in Columbia, South Carolina, Wednesday, May 27, 2015. Secretary Clinton left with around dozen cupcakes. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 09: Huma Abedin attends Ryan Piers Williams' 'Monsters And Landscapes' Exhibition - Opening Reception at The Garfield Building on January 9, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
Huma Abedin attends 'The Beguiled' screening in New York City, U.S. June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala - Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art of the In-Between - Arrivals - New York City, U.S. - 01/05/17 - Huma Abedin. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson
Top aide Huma Abedin (C), and Senior Policy Advisor Jake Sullivan (R) listen to U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (not pictured) at her concession speech to President-elect Donald Trump in New York, U.S.. November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin attend a news conference in New York, U.S. on July 23, 2013. REUTERS/Eric Thayer/File Photo
U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks to staff members, including aide Huma Abedin (L), onboard her campaign plane in White Plains, New York, U.S. October 28, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Huma Abedin, aide to U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, looks on as Clinton makes a campaign stop to greet picketing Verizon workers who are out on strike in the Manhattan borough of New York April 13, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Segar
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Rory Tahari (L) and Huma Abedin attend the 'Crown Heights' New York premiere at Metrograph on August 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Actor/producer Nnamdi Asomugha and Huma Abedin attend the 'Crown Heights' New York premiere at The Metrograph on August 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)
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McCabe reportedly became aware of the request to review the new batch of emails shortly after they were first discovered in September 2016, but he did not take action until about three weeks later, in late October.

Agents investigating Weiner's conduct at the New York FBI field office looped FBI headquarters in on the new emails within days, according to The Post. Officials at the FBI's headquarters subsequently asked agents on the Weiner case to analyze the emails' content and metadata to determine whether they were pertinent to the Clinton probe. Sources told The Post that McCabe was involved in the interactions, but the degree of his involvement is unclear.

Michael Horowitz, the Department of Justice inspector general, is said to be keenly focused on why top FBI officials did not appear to address the emails until weeks after being alerted to their existence.

In particular, the report said, Horowitz is probing whether McCabe and other key figures avoided taking action so as not to sway the November 8 election. Some sources told The Post that then FBI director James Comey became aware of the new emails around the same time McCabe did, while others said he did not find out until weeks later.

About two months before the Abedin emails came to light, Comey said during a July 2016 press conference that the bureau was closing the Clinton email investigation. While he described her conduct as "extremely careless," Comey said that the FBI would not ask that the DOJ bring criminal charges.

Three months later, on October 28, Comey announced that the FBI was reopening its investigation in light of the newly-discovered emails. He said in a letter to Congress at the time that he had become aware of the Weiner laptop findings one day earlier, on October 27. A week later, he said in a second letter that the FBI had not changed its decision on Clinton's conduct and whether to recommend criminal charges.

Though Trump, Republican lawmakers, and conservative media outlets frequently point to Comey's and McCabe's actions as evidence of anti-Trump bias within the nation's top law-enforcement agency, McCabe's defenders have said the delay was expected as FBI agents did the necessary due diligence to investigate their findings.

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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe
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Newly installed acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, May 11, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe prepares to testify during the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing on 'World Wide Threats' on Thursday, May 11, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - MAY 11: From left, Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, appear during a Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee hearing in Hart Building titled 'World Wide Threats' on May 11, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, speaks during a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, USA on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, USA - MAY 11: A binder containing classified material marked Secret sits on the witness table in front of Andrew McCabe, Acting Director of the FBI after President Trump fired James Comey, before a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Worldwide Threats in Washington, United States on May 11, 2017. (Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 21: Federal Bureau of Investigation Deputy Director Andrew McCabe arrives for a meeting with members of the Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees in the Rayburn House Office Building December 21, 2017 in Washington, DC. McCabe testified before the House Intelligence Committee for ten hours on Tuesday. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C) speaks with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price (L) and Acting Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Andrew McCabe (R) during a press conference at the US Department of Justice in Washington, DC, on July 13, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe testifies before the House Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 21, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
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Accusations of bias within the DOJ and FBI reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. On Monday, multiple media outlets reported that McCabe was being forced out of the bureau. A CNN producer and a Fox News report described sources as saying McCabe was told Monday morning to step down and that he was being "removed" from the FBI.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a message to employees on Monday night that McCabe's ouster was primarily the result of the inspector general's investigation into his handling of the Clinton investigation, NBC News reported.

"It would be inappropriate for me to comment on specific aspects of the IG's review right now," Wray said in the message. "But I can assure you that I remain staunchly committed to doing this job, in every respect, 'by the book.' I will not be swayed by political or other pressure in my decision making."

Wray went on to say that McCabe had signaled his intent to retire after meeting with him to discuss the inspector general's investigation.

Wray's message came following reports last week that said Attorney General Jeff Sessions was pushing the FBI director to replace McCabe and James Baker, the former FBI general counsel who was reassigned within the bureau in December.

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FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray sits during a meeting with Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 29, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
Christopher Wray testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the FBI, is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) meets with Christopher Wray, who U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated to be FBI Director, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 13, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Christopher Wray (L) is greeted by former Senator Sam Nunn as he arrives to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
Christopher Wray is sworn in prior to testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Christopher Wray is seated prior to testifying before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on his nomination to be the next FBI director on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 12, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 18: Christopher Wray, President Trump's nominee to lead the FBI walks through the Senate subway at the US Capitol on July 18, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 13: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (L) meets with FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray (R) on Capitol Hill July 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Wray will fill the position that has been left behind by former director James Comey who was fired by President Donald Trump about two months ago. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 13: U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) (L) meets with FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray (R) on Capitol Hill July 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. If confirmed, Wray will fill the position that has been left behind by former director James Comey who was fired by President Donald Trump about two months ago. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 12: Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, testifies during his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 12, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JULY 12: Christopher Wray, nominee for FBI Director, prepares for his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building on July 12, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
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Comey informed both Baker and McCabe, as well as his chief of staff and senior counselor James Rybicki, of his conversations with Trump last year, during which he said Trump asked him for his loyalty and to let go of the bureau's ongoing investigation into former national-security adviser Michael Flynn.

The White House tapped McCabe to be acting FBI director when Trump fired James Comey last May. But McCabe appeared to become a sore spot for Trump as the bureau's investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow during the election began picking up steam last year.

"Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!" Trump tweeted last July, referring to the FBI's investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server to conduct government business.

The next day, he added in a pair of tweets: "Why didn't A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got ... big dollars ($700,000) for his wife's political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!"

Trump ramped up his tirade in December. "How can FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, the man in charge, along with leakin' James Comey, of the Phony Hillary Clinton investigation (including her 33,000 illegally deleted emails) be given $700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton Puppets during investigation?" Trump tweeted on December 23.

McCabe's wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, mounted an unsuccessful run for a Virginia state Senate seat in 2015. The Wall Street Journal reported on October 24, 2016 that her campaign received $675,000 in donations from the Virginia Democratic Party and from Common Good VA, the super PAC run by Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton supporter. None of the donations came from Clinton or her family.

McCabe was not in charge at the time of the Clinton investigation and he did not take on an "oversight role" in the probe until February 2016, long after his wife lost her election bid.

The FBI also released a trove of internal emails and documents earlier this month which confirmed that McCabe was not warned against becoming involved in the Clinton investigation but recused himself anyway following The Journal's report.

But Abedin's emails nonetheless took on new significance after the article was published in October 2016, and at least one senior DOJ official raised questions about the status of the inquiry immediately after, according to The Post.

SEE ALSO: It looks like Jeff Sessions is taking Trump's cues to clean house at the FBI

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