A new report from internal investigators at the Justice Department says former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe wrongly leaked information just before the 2016 election to the Wall Street Journal, and then told different stories to investigators and former FBI Director James Comey when pressed for answers.
The investigation found that McCabe - who was fired from his post just over a day before he would have qualified for early retirement - told "starkly different" stories in different interviews with officials, trying to find out who leaked information to the Wall Street Journal in late October 2016 about FBI reviews of the Clinton Foundation.
Hours after blasting former FBI Director James Comey as a liar and a 'slimeball,' the President celebrated the release of the internal report on McCabe.
"He LIED! LIED! LIED!" the President said, trying to tie McCabe and Comey together. "McCabe is Comey!!"
But, despite the President's declaration, the report had nothing linking Comey and McCabe - instead, investigators made clear that they believed the version of events put forward by the former FBI chief, finding that McCabe had misled Comey about who had authorized the leak to the Wall Street Journal for the October 30, 2016 article.
"McCabe lacked candor when he told Comey, or made statements that led Comey to believe, that McCabe had not authorized the disclosure and did not know who did," the report stated.
As for Comey, he told investigators that he had not authorized McCabe to make any leak about a probe of the Clinton Foundation.
"The overwhelming weight of evidence supported Comey’s version of the conversation and not McCabe’s," it stated.
The report cited a May 9, 2017 interview by investigators in which McCabe again said "he had not authorized" the press disclosure to the Wall Street Journal, "and did not know who did."
"We therefore concluded that McCabe’s disclosure of the existence of an ongoing investigation in this manner violated the FBI’s and the Department’s media policy and constituted misconduct," the report stated.
It were these details which were used as the basis for McCabe's firing.
"Today's Inspector General report confirms FBI Deputy Director McCabe's firing was justified," said Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
The findings about McCabe were just one part of a broader review by the Inspector General of how the Justice Department and FBI dealt with the Clinton email investigation, and a probe into the Clinton Foundation before the 2016 elections.
The Inspector General review was announced over a year ago, by Horowitz, who said there would be five basic issues examined:
1) Whether the FBI and DOJ followed proper procedures dealing with Comey's public announcement in July 2016 about the Clinton email investigation, and then his letters to Congress in the days before the 2016 elections.
2) Whether FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe should have recused himself from certain investigative items.
3) Questions about leaks by DOJ and FBI employees.
4) Whether a top DOJ official wrongly gave non-public information to the Clinton campaign.
5) Questions about the FBI release of certain FOIA documents related to Hillary Clinton just days before the election, and the use of an FBI Twitter account to publicize those releases.
The Inspector General is also reviewing how the FBI and Justice Department dealt with a separate investigation during the campaign dealing with Russia and any ties to the Trump Campaign.
No time has been set for the release of those reviews.